OHIO COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) A nationwide shortage on blood is due in part to the pandemic. 

People were donating far less blood because of COVID-19,  and the ending of the pandemic is causing an increase in demand. 

The Red Cross of the Ohio Valley Executive Director Sharon Kesselring says people are traveling and becoming more active, which has increased traumas that require blood. 

Kesselring said you can donate if you have had COVID-19 and if you’ve been vaccinated.

She says blood is a necessity as it cannot be created artificially, and says there is no reason to be worried.  

“You will only be on the table for maybe 15 minutes and only 5-6 minutes of that is actually giving blood.  Its so quick and you just cant imagine what a difference this makes in peoples lives.” 

Sharon Kesselring – Executive Director of the Red Cross of the Ohio Valley

The Red Cross has an app you can download to see where and when to donate blood across the Ohio Valley. 

If that wasn’t enough of an incentive, they’re also giving away free red cross hats until July 6th for anyone who donates blood.