The American Red Cross is putting out an urgent plea for blood donations as the nation's supply suffers a severe shortage due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The shortage is due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations during this coronavirus outbreak. Healthy individuals are needed to donate now to help patients counting on lifesaving blood.

Donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood. Watch this video on the safety and need for blood donations. Right now, eligible and healthy donors are strongly urged to make an appointment to give soon.

Please postpone your donation for 28 days following travel to China and its special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau, as well as Iran, Italy and South Korea, or if you’ve been diagnosed with or have had contact with anyone with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.

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This blood shortage could impact patients who need surgery, victims of car accidents and other emergencies, or patients fighting cancer. One of the most important things you can do to ensure we don’t have another health care crisis on top of coronavirus is to give now.

The U.S. Surgeon General says, “You can still go out and give blood. We’re worried about potential blood shortages in the future. Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement.”

Pete Hanson is on 98.1 Minnesota's New Country weekday mornings from 5:30 to 10:00.