Inside Look At The Blood Donation Process As Some Centers Are Critically Low On Donations

DULUTH, Minn. — The Memorial Blood Centers, with locations across the Northland, says it needs more donors to help fill its critically low supply, along with more new hires to work at the facilities.

On Monday, MBC announced it was experiencing a “blood emergency,” as its supplies are down so much, it only has enough type O blood and platelets to cover the need for one to two days, with its general supply able to cover up to three days.

The standard is to have at least enough blood supply to cover up to five to seven days of demand for it.

“It’s caused by multiple reasons,” Angela Engblom, the senior manager of operations of Memorial Blood Centers in Duluth, said of the current shortage. “We have a high usage with our hospitals, and we have decreased donations for multiple reasons. Low on staff, low on donations, it’s just a busy time of year trying to fill our appointments.”

Blood donations are used for patients coming in for traumatic injuries, burns, chronic diseases such as cancer, and are key in many surgeries and organ transplants. One donation can save up to three lives.

“It would be really helpful to have more blood drives (from businesses), but I think honestly the biggest help would be to have more people come into our donor center, and we have a donor center here in Duluth where we’re at right now, we also have one in Hibbing, Minnesota, Virginia, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin,” Englom said.

The organization says it took a hit in terms of its staffing because of the pandemic, which hurts its ability to increase the number of donations it can take it each day.

Management adds that MBC is working to hire more employees to meet the demands of collecting blood donations, such as being able to schedule more blood drives and appointments.

“We have a hiring fair, a virtual hiring fair, on May 17th and we are actively looking for phlebotomists, and we are offering a $1,000 sign-on bonuses right now,” Engblom said.

If you would like to donate blood, can make an appointment by calling 1-888-448-3253, or go to



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