LAS VEGAS (FOX5) - Vitalant, the nation's largest nonprofit-independent blood collector has declared a critical shortage of blood supplies here in Las Vegas as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The shelter-in-place orders let to 205 canceled blood drives starting in early March in order to help keep Southern Nevada residents safe. 

The pandemic pause results in a loss of 5,438 uncollected blood donations. As surgeries take place and the stay-at-home restrictions lift there has been a 25% increase in need for blood.

The Urbina family donated their convalescent plasma together at Vitalant’s West Charleston Donor Center in Las Vegas to help critically ill COVID-19 patients. 

All blood types are critically needed right now, with an especially high need for type O, A-negative and B-negative red blood cells. In addition, platelets are always needed by patients for cancer treatments, surgeries and emergencies. Because of its short shelf life—only 5 days—the supply of platelets must be continually replenished. 

“We strive to maintain a 4-day supply of blood just to provide what patients need, and currently we’re at less than half that for certain blood types,” said Dr. Ralph Vassallo, Chief Medical Officer at Vitalant. “It’s absolutely vital—a matter of life or death for some—to have enough blood collected and readily available on hospital shelves when patients need it.”

In the Southwest, Vitalant must collect more than 700 blood donations every day to meet patients’ transfusion needs. Every two seconds, someone needs blood. Vitalant urgently needs donors to make an appointment today to ensure a stable blood supply.

Donors are urged to give blood as soon as possible by going online to or calling 877-258-4825 (877-25-VITAL).

Copyright 2020 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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