(DENVER) — The blood supply for about 900 hospitals nationwide dipped to its lowest level in a year, and Vitalant has declared a blood emergency.

Vitalant says changes to how people work, live, and play since the start of the pandemic created lasting challenges to maintaining an adequate blood supply. Blood donations at business-hosted blood drives are down by 50% in 2022 from 2019 due to many people continuing to work remotely, a decline of 90,000 donations. Overall the number of people donating with Vitalant has decreased by about 20% in the last three years, while patients’ needs remain strong.

“New donors and those who haven’t donated recently are critical to helping end this shortage. Patient needs continue but societal shifts have kept blood donations from rebounding to pre-pandemic levels,” said Cliff Numark, Vitalant senior vice president. “Starting the new year by scheduling a blood donation can make an incredible impact in your community.”

Vitalant said eligible donors of all blood types, especially type O, are needed now to schedule an appointment and donate in the days and weeks ahead to prevent delays for patients who need transfusions. Vitalant says type O-positive is the most transfused blood type while O-negative can help patients of any blood type.

During January, National Blood Donor Month, all those who come to give blood through Jan. 20 will be automatically entered to win tickets, travel, and more in the Big Trip to the Big Game Giveaway.