Bloodworks Northwest declares ‘code red’ emergency blood shortage

Facing a severe blood shortage, Bloodworks Northwest is issuing a “code red” emergency asking everyone who is eligible and feeling healthy to fill immediate appointments to give blood. Donations dropped significantly due to winter weather and the holiday season. Hospitals are advised to conserve the limited onsite supplies to maintain a supply for emergencies, especially Type O blood and platelets.

A Code Red is declared after four consecutive days of emergency levels.

“A Code Red means we’re running out of blood fast,” said Bloodworks Northwest Executive Vice President of Blood Services Vicki Finson. “The community must act quickly to stabilize the blood supply and ensure patients experiencing cancer can receive transfusions, surgeries aren’t delayed, and our trauma centers can respond to emergencies. “If you’ve been putting off donating blood, now is the time to make an appointment.”

Same-day blood donation appointments are available at most locations, and appointments in the next three weeks are just as vital. Right now, universal Type O blood is extremely important, especially for trauma and emergency situations when the patient’s blood type is unknown. January is National Blood Donor Month, and with this blood shortage that is nothing short of a public health emergency, the importance of blood donors is keenly felt.

Most people in good health, at least 18 years old, and who weigh at least 110 pounds can donate whole blood every 56 days. See website for ages 16 & 17. Masks and appointments required. Donors can donate blood ten days after COVID symptoms resolve, and COVID and flu vaccinations do not affect your ability to donate blood. Check out the detailed eligibility Q&A or call  800-398-7888.

It takes about an hour to give blood from check-in to post-donation cookie. Information about who can donate and where, is available at

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