OBI Facing Emergency Blood Shortage Due To Ice Storm, Pandemic

Wednesday, October 28th 2020, 9:46 pm

TULSA, Okla. -

The Oklahoma Blood Institute is dealing with an emergency blood shortage because of two crises: the ice storm and the pandemic.

Jan Laub, the executive director of the Oklahoma Blood Institute, said COVID-19 is making it harder to get donations. She said they are struggling to keep up with the needs of hospitals across the state.

Darren Phillips went to the Oklahoma Blood Institute near 81st and Yale to donate his blood.

"It's an easy way to help people," Phillips said.

Phillips said he got a text Wednesday morning about the urgent need for more donors, after many people canceled their appointments due to the bad weather, so he decided to stop by.

It's not the first time he's given blood.

"31 times in Oklahoma, and six gallons in Illinois, when I used to live there, I'm a frequent flier," Phillips said.

The Oklahoma Blood Institute said they typically get 1,200 donations every day, to keep up with the need.

On top of COVID-19 complications, many parts of the state are grappling with icy weather. Laub said the blood supply that hospitals rely on is drastically decreasing.

"It's not just a specific blood type, it's an emergency, we need all blood types," Laub said.

OBI usually has a three to five-day supply for Oklahoma's hospitals. Now, they have less than one day supply.

"It's just, the hits keep on coming," Laub said.

The Oklahoma Blood Institute is asking all Oklahomans 16 years or older to donate blood as soon as possible.

One donation can save up to three people's lives. It's a simple fact that keeps bringing Darren Phillips back.

"It's an easy way to help people, just feels like a mosquito bite, give it a try," Phillips said.

The Oklahoma Blood Institute said all donations will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies as well to identify potential plasma donors.