MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Medical professionals are recognizing a national blood shortage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some Lowcountry hospitals are doing their part to help end the shortage.

East Cooper Medical Center says they’re feeling the impact of the lack of blood and are looking for creative ways to help to close the gap. Some of those include community blood drives.

“I think we were able to hold this off for a while but it’s finally caught up with us,” says Dr. Joe Sanfrancesco, a Pathologist and Medical Director of the Lab at East Cooper Medical Center.

Medical professionals across the Lowcountry say the blood shortage is reaching critical levels.

“I think some would argue we’re already there,” says Dr. Sanfrancesco. “And I think it’s something that really because it’s an amoeba, it’s a live product. This is something we need to address as soon as possible.”

From East Cooper Medical Center to Tidelands Health, doctors say the shortage is a direct result of COVID-19.

“You know we’ve just been in this pandemic,” says Brooke Howard, Vice President of Operations with Tidelands. “It’s been very difficult for people to make it out of their homes, participate in blood drives, just kind of led to this, to the events that we’re in now.”

East Cooper says they’re hoping to close the gap through community blood drives. Howard says Tidelands Health’s recent partnership with The Blood Connection is their best hope to ensuring the hospital has enough supply.

“We just wanted to make sure that we had adequate blood supply for our patients in the area,” says Howard. “Obviously, there is a nationwide blood shortage that we are facing.”

Both hospitals say COVID-19 protocols will be strictly enforced at blood drives in hopes of encouraging more to provide hope for others.

East Cooper Medical Center plans to hold a blood drive Friday, January 28th from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the hospital. Howard says Tidelands Health is planning to hold blood drives in the coming weeks in partnership with The Blood Connection.