In the states of Baden-Württemberg and Hessen, the local Red Cross no longer has enough reserves to cover a whole day of hospital operations, according to a report Wednesday from public broadcaster ARD.
Levels are also dangerously low in Berlin, Hamburg, Saxony and Brandenburg. One of the few federal states not hit by the scarcity is Bavaria, which still has blood reserves for over four days.
“This is the lowest levels of reserves I’ve seen in my career,” Eberhard Weck of the Red Cross in Baden-Württemberg told ARD.
The low levels of blood reserves could be critical if hospitals were hit by a large scale emergency involving significant numbers of patients.
“We would have a big problem then,” the Red Cross’ Stephan Küpper told ARD, adding that local reserves were so low that blood would have to be called in from other parts of the country.
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The reason for the shortage is the corona crisis. Although people are as willing as ever to donate blood, opportunities to do so have been limited by the lockdown.
Mobile blood banks, which normally visit universities, schools and companies, have been out of action for weeks due to the fact that universities are closed and most companies have told their employees to work from home. Opportunities to donate at hospitals have also been restricted by the crisis.
The Red Cross is encouraging everyone who can to visit a blood donation centre on the few days when appointments are still possible. The organisation predicts that the shortages could last until the end of the year.
“Everyone who is willing and able needs to donate blood,” Weck told ARD.
Information on booking blood donation appointments across the country is available on the Red Cross’ website via the following link.