Blood Supply to Local Hospitals Running on Fumes

Bloodworks Northwest is issuing an urgent appeal for donors after inventories dipped sharply concerning an emergency shortage of Type O Blood before Labor Day weekend.


There is an urgent need for blood donations heading into Labor Day weekend. Bloodworks Northwest reports the local blood supply is running on fumes, as donations are down and patient needs for Type O blood and platelets are at their highest. All eligible donors are urged to make an appointment to donate in the days and weeks ahead.


“We’re operating on less than a single day supply of O Positive and O Negative blood – the types most needed in trauma situations,” said Dr. Kirsten Alcorn, Co-Chief Medical Officer of Bloodworks

Northwest. “Hospitals are already having to conserve onsite supplies, and we’re concerned the upcoming Labor Day weekend will further impact our ability to provide urgently-needed blood for emergencies at a time when trauma units around our region typically experience high patient usage. It’s vital the public prioritizes donating blood to keep our community safe.”


It takes 1,000 donors a day of all blood types to maintain a safe and reliable blood supply for unexpected emergencies and continued medical care in our region. Only 40% of the donors needed have booked appointments, leaving a gap of 3,600 open appointments between now and Labor Day. Donating blood takes about an hour from check-in to post-donation cookie, and it is an hour well spent. Each donation is roughly one pint of blood, and people needing transfusions often need multiple pints of blood. Those wishing to donate can encourage a friend to book an appointment with them, doubling the number of lives potentially saved.


Bloodworks has perks for people who donate this summer to help end the shortage. Donors can enter to win monthly music giveaways like a karaoke machine and Apple iPad mini or Airpods Max over-ear headphones as part of Bloodworks Musics In Our Blood Campaign. Donors who sign up to receive emails can receive gift card promotions.


About Donating Blood:


  • Donating blood is a safe and essential action. Appointments, masks, and photo ID required. Information about who can donate and where is available at www.bloodworksnw.org.

  • Most people in good health, at least 18 years old, and who weigh at least 110lbs can donate whole blood. Ages 16 & 17 may donate in WA with signed Bloodworks permission form. In OR, anyone over 16 can donate. Read detailed eligibility Q&A or call 800-398-7888.

  • Approximately 39% of the population has Type O+ blood, and 9% has Type O- universal blood type. This is known as the universal blood type. You do not need to know your blood type to donate blood. First-time donors who sign up by email will learn their unique blood type following donation.

Additional Resources:


For the latest information on COVID-19, please visit the CDC website, the Washington State Department of Health's COVID-19 main page, and the Oregon Health Authority.

Bloodworks Donor Centers and Pop-Up Centers:


Appointments and information at BloodworksNW.org or 800-398-7888. See our list of Donor Centers and Pop-Up blood drive locations, including our new Donor Center in Renton.


About Bloodworks Northwest – Donations with Bloodworks Northwest provide 95% of the lifesaving blood supply to hospitals in Western Washington and Oregon. Since 1944, Bloodworks has served the Pacific Northwest as the local, nonprofit, independent, volunteer-supported, and community-based blood center and research institute. Bloodworks partners closely with local hospitals to deliver the highest level of patient care. Comprehensive services include blood components, complex cross-matching, specialized lab services for organ transplants, care for patients with blood disorders, and collection of cord blood stem cells for cancer treatment. Bloodworks Research Institute performs leading-edge research in blood biology, transfusion medicine, blood storage, and treatment of blood disorders. Patients with traumatic injuries, undergoing surgeries or organ transplantation or receiving treatment for cancer and blood disorders all depend on our services, expertise, laboratories, and research. Blood donation appointments can be scheduled at bloodworksnw.org.