TORRANCE (CBSLA) – The nationwide blood shortage forced the temporary closure of the trauma center at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center earlier this week.
The hospital said on Wednesday it had been forced to close its trauma center to new patients for more than two hours on Monday due to the shortage.
A spokesperson for the hospital told the Los Angeles Times it needs to request blood from other hospitals before it can reopen. Harbor-UCLA is one of three public hospitals operated by the LA County Department of Health Services.
On Tuesday, the American Red Cross reported it was facing its worst blood shortage in more than a decade. The agency reported an overall drop of 10% in the number of blood donors, as well as a 62% drop in blood drives in schools and colleges.
The shortage is due to the outbreak of COVID-19 caused by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, combined with winter weather problems, according to Red Cross medical director Baia Lasky.
“Dangerously low blood supply levels pose a worrying risk to patient care and force doctors to make tough decisions about who gets blood transfusions and who will have to wait until more products become available,” wrote the Red Cross in a press release Tuesday.