It’s safe to donate blood during COVID-19

Canadian Blood Services announced it was phasing out mobile blood clinics in the region run by its Sudbury donor centre. The Aug. 9 announcement was made after the Sudbury donor centre was designated a plasma collection centre in a three-city pilot project. The final clinics in North Bay will be held Jan. 22. File Photo Luke Hendry / Luke Hendry/The Intelligencer

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Canadian Blood Services says it’s concerned by the spate of appointment cancellations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Patients depend on these lifesaving donations,” said Dr. Isra Levy, the Canadian Blood Services’ vice-president of medical affairs and innovation.

“Every day they are needed for patients undergoing surgery and cancer treatment, as well as to save lives following traumas such as motor vehicle accidents.” The organization operates a national blood inventory where products are regularly shifted around Canada to meet hospital and patient needs. The inventory is strong, but an increase in cancellations is worrying, particularly in light of the blood shortages already being reported in other countries affected by COVID-19, says Levy.

Donating blood in Canada continues to be safe, said Levy.

“Our robust cleaning and infection-control practices protect all donors, staff and volunteers,” he added. “All prospective donors are also carefully screened for any symptoms of illness, including very mild ones. This screening occurs during both appointment booking and upon arrival at the donor centre or event. Those with any symptoms are not allowed to donate blood and are instructed not to visit.”

Levy said the organizations donor centers are “islands of wellness within Canada’s health system. They are are not places where sick people gather.”

He is urging all healthy and eligible donors to book and keep appointments. The need is constant for blood, stem cells, plasma and organ and tissue donors. Canadian Blood Services adheres to the latest guidance from the Public Health

To make an appointment to donate, download the GiveBlood app, call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or book now at blood.ca. Walk-in appointments are also available at all locations.

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