PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The American Red Cross has declared its first ever blood crisis amid the omicron surge forcing some hospitals to delay life saving treatments.

Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center Laboratory Administrative Director, Kay Creed, said it’s a little alarming to hear about Red Cross’ biggest blood shortage in over a decade.

“Because of that, we keep a really close eye on our inventory and our usage to make sure that we have the adequate supply for our patients,” Creed said.

Creed said GCRMC currently gets their blood supply from OneBlood. While she said the hospital hasn’t been impacted, she said blood donors are a crucial part of the health care equation.

“If we don’t have the donors, a lot of people aren’t going to make it,” Creed said. “It’s a life and death thing a lot of times. You can have someone that’s in a bad car wreck and they go through 50-60 units at a time. So it’s very important and it makes you feel better. You’re giving something — actually when you donate blood, you can be giving something to four different people.”

Creed said blood is used for patients of all ages.

“One of the things we have here – we have babies here,” Creed said. “We have little, teeny, tiny babies and a lot of those babies have to be transfused because their bodies aren’t quite developed themselves so we do transfuse babies sometimes we transfuse even before the baby is born.”

Blood is also used for several life-saving treatments.

“You have GI bleeders that come in, traumas that come in, blood can be used for a myriad of things and a myriad of conditions,” Creed said. “We have cancer patients that their bone marrow are depleted and this is how they make it.”

For those who might be nervous to give blood, Creed has some encouraging words.

“It may be a little intimidating, the first time you ever do it, but once you do it it’s like ‘Oh I don’t even know what I was so frightened of,'” Creed said. “As long as you go by what they say for you to do before you go donate and then what you need to do after you donate, then you’ll have no problems. It’ll be fine.”

Creed said only 38 percent of the population qualifies to donate blood and that less than 10 percent actually end up donating.

January is also National Blood Donor Month. If you are interested in donating, OneBlood will hold two blood drives this week at two different Carrabba’s locations.

On Monday, January 17, donors can come to the Panama City Beach Carrabba’s location from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. to give blood.

The drive will move to the Sandestin Carrabba’s location on Thursday, January 20, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Donors will receive a $10 giftcard to Carrabba’s to use at their next visit, a OneBlood long-sleeve t-shirt, a $20 eGiftcard and a wellness checkup.