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DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — With more people hitting the roads for holiday travel and going back to normal activity, hospitals across the state are seeing an increase in trauma patients amid the nationwide blood shortage.

According to Dr. Don Williamson with the Alabama Hospital Association, that increase along with more surgeries are not the only reason for a shortage in the hospital blood supplies.

Williamson said because of COVID-19, fifteen to 20 percent fewer people across the nation are turning up to donate blood. This has put supplies at historically low levels, with now organizations desperate for the need of donors.

They need blood because experts never know when there will be a disaster that may come and wipe out the backlog of blood. Right now, blood centers have less than two days’ worth of blood supplies on hand, however, the real concern is making sure there is enough blood to go around.

“There are lots of things in medicine for which we have alternatives,” Dr. Williamson said. “This drug is not available, we can use this drug. Blood is one of those unique things for which there are no other alternatives.”

Medical experts encourage people to donate blood, especially those with type ‘O’ blood. Since the state is currently in a unique situation, people would literally be giving the gift of life this holiday season by donating their blood to help others.