EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso blood bank Vitalant is in need of blood donors to help overcome a shortage due to challenges caused by the spread of COVID-19, according to a spokeswoman for the company.

A recent rise in COVID-19 cases has had an impact on the number of people donating blood, according to Carla Alexander, the communications manager for the South Division of Vitalant.

“People stopped donating because they have the virus, their family has the virus, we can’t go into businesses, blood drives are canceling,” Alexander said.

According to the Sr. Director of Donor Recruitment at Vitalant as of Wednesday, the blood bank had about a day and a half of supply left. “Our greatest need is type O blood, we are in urgent need of type O,” said Alexander.

Alexander says El Pasoans who have been infected by COVID-19 can donate blood after they stop experiencing symptoms.

“You can give blood just as long as you’re over the symptoms,” she said. “You’re not having a fever, you’re not having anything. As long as you’re symptom-free. You could have gotten your vaccine and come immediately and give it there’s no downside to that. If you actually have the active virus then you need to wait until you are symptom-free.”

For local and breaking news, sports, weather alerts, video and more, download the FREE KTSM 9 News App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.