LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The American Red Cross today warned of a dangerously low supply of blood both around the country and in the Los Angeles area -- and hoped to induce donations by automatically entering donors into a raffle for Super Bowl tickets and other prizes.
Meanwhile, with the Red Cross also facing staffing shortages as it looks to meet the ``critical'' need for blood, the organization will hold a job fair in Arcadia on Wednesday, looking to fill spots on its mobile phlebotomist team to help operate blood drives in the area.
The organization said the COVID-19 pandemic is driving the shortage -- causing a 10% overall decline in the number of people donating blood, as well blood drive cancellations and staffing limitations. The pandemic has contributed to a 62% drop in blood drives at schools and colleges, the organization said.
``Our inventory is at crisis levels,'' said Raahima Shoaib Yazdani, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross' Los Angeles Region. ``Right now, doctors are being forced to decide which patients receive blood transfusions and who must wait.''
The Red Cross said blood and platelet donations are critically needed to help prevent further delays in medical treatments, and urged donors of all blood types -- but especially type O -- to make appointments to give.
The organization said that in recent weeks, it has had less than a one- day supply of critical blood types and has had to limit blood product distributions to hospitals.
At times, as much as one-quarter of hospital blood needs are not being met, the organization said.
Appointments are available on the Red Cross Blood Donor App, by visiting RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
The organization said anyone who donates in January -- National Blood Donor Month -- will automatically be entered to win two tickets to Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, along with entry to the official NFL Tailgate, tickets to Super Bowl Experience, round-trip airfare to Los Angeles, three-night hotel accommodations (Feb. 11-14) and a $500 gift card for expenses.
Donors will also be automatically entered to win a ``Big Game at Home'' home-theater package and a $500 e-gift card for game-day food.
Wednesday's job fair in Arcadia for entry-level phlebotomists will take place at 376 W. Huntington Drive from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. No experience is necessary, and the Red Cross offers paid training.