Flu season, winter weather causing blood shortage, Red Cross says

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Red Cross says they’re experiencing a critical blood shortage after weeks of inclement weather and a widespread flu season.

Those two factors, they say, are keeping donors from coming in to donate blood. In Pennsylvania alone, more than 23 blood drives had to be cancelled over the last few weeks and the Red Cross says they lost an expected 600 donations because of it.

Flu season is hitting the Keystone State hard. The Department of Health says 47 people have died from flu-associated deaths since the official flu season began last fall – and 15 of them happened just last week.

Right now, the Red Cross says blood is being distributed to hospitals faster than it’s coming in.

Corinn Ruggiero with the Red Cross says people are not allowed to donate if they’re sick. At a blood drive, each donor is screened for signs of the flu. She says this time of year is always difficult to make up for the deficit of donations.

“This time of year we face donors being unable to get to blood drives due to influenza…due to winter weather…and due to just general sickness,” said Ruggiero.

More than 25,000 people across Pennsylvania have been sickened by the flu since October and that number keeps going up. Ruggiero says she hopes people who are well will consider donating. A one-time donation helps up to three people in need.

Here’s a list of upcoming Red Cross blood drives across Pennsylvania: 


1/31/2018: 12:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., Shippensburg Christian Fellowship, 10600 Blind Lane

2/9/2018: 12:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., Shippensburg Church of the Brethren, 253 East Garfield


1/26/2018: 1:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., Chambersburg Mall, 864 Chambersburg Mall

2/12/2018: 12 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Chambersburg Hospital, 112 N. Seventh Street


2/10/2018: 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., Calvary United Methodist Church, 150 Norlo Drive

Mont Alto
1/25/2018: 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Penn State University Activity Center, 1 Campus Drive

2/6/2018: 1 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Juniata Mennonite School, 289 Leonard Hill Road, PO Box 278

2/14/2018: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., Mountain View Community Church, 277 Mill Road

2/9/2018: 1:30 p.m. – 7 p.m., First Baptist Church, 111 E. Third Street

2/13/2018: 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., St. John’s Lutheran Church, 120 N Main Street

2/7/2018: 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., McClure American Legion, 36 E Ohio Street

1/29/2018: 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., Perry Mennonite Reception Center, 350 Greenpark Road, Route 233

You may also visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to schedule an appointment to donate blood. 


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