By Courtney Bachar/The Oshawa Express
Canadian Blood Services is urging residents to continue booking appointments to donate blood to continue to fill the need.
Jennifer Mathieu, manager of the Oshawa donation site, says there has been a small increase in appointment bookings since the initial call to action in mid-March for blood donations.
“It’s been great to see how many people have continued to donate,” says Mathieu.
Canadian Blood Services issued a call for blood donations last month after people were cancelling their appointments due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
However, despite the outbreak and the new social distancing guidelines that have been put in place by the province, Mathieu says it is still safe to donate blood during this time.
She says additional health and safety measures have been put in place at the donation centre to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Some of the enhancements include placing the chairs in the waiting area and the donor chairs 6-feet apart, and increasing the frequency of cleaning.
Canadian Blood Services has also updated its donor eligibility requirements recently based on the latest information regarding the COVID-19 virus.
“We are asking that if you are well, to please consider booking an appointment to donate,” says Mathieu.
Those who are not eligible to donate, and must wait a minimum of 14 days prior to donating, are people who have tested positive for COVID-19, people who have developed a fever and cough after close contact with someone who has tested positive, people who have developed a fever and cough within 14 days of travel outside of Canada, and those who develop a fever and cough after close contact with a symptomatic person who became ill within two weeks of travel outside Canada. People exposed in the community or at work may also be temporarily ineligible for donation.
Canadian Blood Services advises anyone who has travelled outside of Canada within 14 days of an appointment, or anyone with symptoms of illness, even mild ones, not to visit a donation centre.
People who already have an appointment booked can access a self-health assessment check on the blood.ca website prior to attending their appointment.
The Oshawa location sees about 380 appointments a week with increased hours of six days a week in order to continue to be able to meet the need.
Dr. Graham Sher, CEO of Canadian Blood Services, released a statement expressing his gratitude for the recent increase in appointment bookings since the call to action and hopes to see the trend continue.
“I want to take this time to extend my deepest appreciation for the enormous response we’ve seen in recent days from blood donors who’ve booked appointments,” says Sher. “The need in the weeks ahead will continue to remain strong. Please help us sustain our blood inventory in the weeks ahead by booking future appointments. Your continued support will help us keep our commitment to Canadians. We need to provide these lifesaving products and services to patients in need as we manage this COVID-19 pandemic together.”