LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The American Red Cross is facing a national blood crisis – its worst blood shortage in over a decade, posing a concerning risk to patient care.

Red Cross does not collect blood in Louisiana, however the dire situation is familiar to blood centers locally.

Vitalant says it’s one of the oldest blood banks in the nation.

Currently, Vitalant is experiencing a two-year low.

“We like to have a four-day supply and right now we are less than a two-day supply nationwide,” Communications Manager Stephanie Kizziar said.

Vitalant’s critical appeal is help medical facilities from possibly having to delay procedures or treatments until blood is available.

“It’s to avoid hospitals having to cancel those scheduled surgeries. We want to try to get ahead of it so that it doesn’t start to affect the blood supply that we’re sending to the hospitals.”

Kizziar notes that Vitalant has lost out on a lot of blood drives.

She says a number of businesses have canceled due to a lack of staffing caused by COVID.

Plus, she says, many school blood drives have been called-off for the same reason.

“About 30 percent of our blood supply was through the education system.  Once they stop letting us into the schools we lost about 30 percent of our blood,” Kizziar added.

Lafayette resident John Pere says he gives blood on a regular schedule.

Pere’s donation will help the dire situation he just heard about.

“I just found out; I guess our nationwide blood supply is down to about a two-day supply which isn’t very much,” he said.

Our Lady of Lourdes Blood Center Supervisor Suzy Picard confirms that they too are dealing with a critical shortage.

Picard has worked in the blood donation field for nearly 30 years.

“I have not seen the inventory level at zero and that’s a scary thing and I have seen it two times in the past couple weeks. It’s either at zero or seven or ten and that’s not enough,” she said.

Picard says Lourdes is a network of hospitals.

The Lafayette blood center location supplies blood to other centers.

She notes the critical blood situation is taking place at centers throughout Louisiana.

“It can help someone in a dire situation.  You don’t know the impact you would have on someone else’s life.”

Our Lady of Lourdes Blood Center donation information:  https://lourdesrmc.com/ways-to-give/blood-donor-center/

Vitalant Blood Donationinformation:  vitalant.org