AUSTIN (KXAN) — The American Red Cross announced Monday national blood supply levels had dipped to less than a day’s worth of blood of key blood types being available at donation centers across the country, triggering the first-ever “national blood crisis.”

In a statement, officials noted the prolonged impact of the pandemic paired with winter-based storms have led to reduced donation rates, impacting daily supplies.

The nation’s blood supply remains at one of its lowest levels in recent years. In recent weeks, blood centers across the country have reported less than a one-day’s supply of blood of certain critical blood types — a dangerously low level. If the nation’s blood supply does not stabilize soon, life-saving blood may not be available for some patients when it is needed.

AABB, America’s Blood Centers and the American Red Cross

Here in Central Texas, We Are Blood’s vice president of community engagement Nick Canedo could lead to delayed medical services.

“The impact would be that we would need hospital systems that work to constantly conserve the amount of blood that they are using on a daily basis, which could lead to delays and surgeries and some treatments being unavailable for patients and in the worst possible circumstance,” he said. “Blood not being available for traumas where the blood donations are urgently needed. So that’s why we need to strike a new — basically a new equilibrium with the amount of donations we’re collecting, to meet this enhanced need in our community.”

Currently, We Are Blood also follows national trends and has approximately one day’s worth of blood supply in its inventory. This past December, We Are Blood reported 600 more donations were required than in December 2020, marking an 18% increase.

Amid Central Texas’s own population growth and an uptick in trauma needs due to accidents, trauma incidents and increased hospital capacities, that need will only continue, he added.

“The drivers of the need in our community are really just a new normal, versus a spike or a mass casualty incident,” he said. “It really means that we need to increase, overall, our community blood supply to a new level so we can maintain adequately the supply our hospitals have on hand for patients.”

We Are Blood operates three donor centers and hosts mobile donor drives across its 10-county coverage area. For information on how to schedule a donation appointment, click here.