ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The American Red Cross declared its first-ever national blood crisis in the U.S. Tuesday.

Officials said this shortage is the worst it has been in over a decade, and the effects are being felt nationwide and here at home.

 The American Red Cross of Western New York said this shortage was due to a number of factors.

“There are so many different reasons, from COVID to supply chain issues to staffing limitations, and we’re just rallying folks to come out and help,” Hanna Malak, Regional Donor Services Executive Director said.

The Red Cross is asking everyone who can, to donate immediately. Donor Tom Smith said the task isn’t hard to do.

“There is a huge need for it, it’s not difficult at all to do this and I actually feel awfully good about it when I’m done,” Smith said.

The Red Cross said they are doing everything they can to supply medically critical blood to the systems that need it but can’t do it on their own. 

“We are at the critical point. We like to have a five-day supply of blood in case there is a big emergency or disaster and right now we are operating on a one-day supply,” Malak said.

Local hospital systems like Rochester Regional Health said they’ve made changes in how they utilize their supply due to the shortage.

“It becomes an issue if all of a sudden we get in trauma, gunshot wounds, or motor vehicle accidents, things we don’t expect,” Dr. Roberto Vargas with Rochester Regional Health said.

While hospital systems are feeling the effects and operating on crisis levels, they said it could be worse. 

“Today we’re safe. We have a safe plan to take care of our patients, but there’s a lot of uncertainty,” Dr. Vargas said.

Despite managing till this point, hospital systems such as Rochester Regional Health are asking those who can donate to do so. That way, they won’t have to dip further into crisis mode.

If you are looking to donate, you can schedule an appointment at redcross.org.