TORRANCE (CBSLA) – The nationwide blood shortage forced the temporary closure of the trauma center at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center earlier this week.
The hospital reported Wednesday that it was forced to close its trauma center to new patients for over two hours on Monday because of the shortage.
A hospital spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times that it had to reach out to other hospitals for blood before it could reopen. Harbor-UCLA is one of three public hospitals operated by the L.A. County Department of Health Services.
On Tuesday, the American Red Cross reported that it is facing its worst blood shortage in more than a decade. The agency reported a 10% overall decline in the number of blood donors, along with a 62% decline in blood drives at schools and colleges.
The shortage is due to the surge in COVID-19 brought on by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, coupled with winter weather issues, according to Red Cross Medical Director Baia Lasky.
“Dangerously low blood supply levels are posing a concerning risk to patient care and forcing doctors to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more products become available,” the Red Cross wrote in a news release Tuesday.