RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As blood donations hit a historic low, even worse than the early months of the pandemic, the Blood Connection is doing what it can to get more people to donate.

“We also just rolled out a new COVID antibody screening that will detect not only for the natural antibodies but for the vaccine antibodies as well,” said Ellen Kirtner with the Blood Connection.

Click here to schedule a donation

Hours are also being extended at donor site to accommodate more people. The Blood Connection has a Raleigh location at 5925 Glenwood Ave.

They also have mobile donation centers with several events scheduled.

The Blood Connection services hospitals in 32 counties across central and eastern North Carolina.

“Our local hospitals don’t know what’s going to come through their doors daily, so they never know how many pints of blood they’re going to need but it’s our job as the community blood center to have that supply ready for them,” said Kirtner.

Robert Rainer, medical director for the Blood Connection, said they need to collect 1,000 units of blood every day in order to keep up with the demand.

“Last week what I heard was we only collected about 400 and we gave out about 800,” said Rainer.

He believes one reason why the numbers are so low is access.

“This time of year, we’re able to get into schools, we’re able to get into churches, we’re able to get where people gather, people haven’t quite gathered together again,” said Rainer.

Rainer said if supply gets even lower, hospitals will have to start rationing who can receive blood.

“That would cause hospitals to kind of cancel surgeries – think about delaying cancer treatments.”

One easy way you can help is to decide to donate twice a year.

That helps organizations keep a steady supply.

Rainer said their supply usually only last about three days.