Canadian Blood Services has an immediate need for donated blood as COVID-19 cases drop and the region gets back to business.
“There is an immediate need for blood as demand is rising fast as hospitals resume procedures that were put on hold due to COVID-19,” said Tammy Maroudas, Territory Manager Donor Relations, Canadian Blood Services.
Across Canada, the blood collection agency is looking to book 26,000 blood donation appointments across Canada this summer.
Donors have shown incredible flexibility and commitment
“Donors have shown incredible flexibility and commitment throughout the pandemic and we need that to continue as we adjust and respond to this next phase,” said Maroudas.
Many blood donation centres were closed or limited in their ability to operate in March, as the case count for COVID-19 grew. Canadian Blood Services had to adapt to the new health and safety guidelines to ensure the safety of donors, employees, and volunteers. This resulted in appointment cancellations and temporary venue closures. As a result, there was a significant drop in blood donations.
With Stage 3 of Ontario’s reopening plan underway in the Niagara Region, blood clinics have reopened. All blood types are need, however the greatest is need for O-negative blood as it can be used on anyone needing blood regardless of blood type.
Blood donated by volunteers is used to save lives and is used in medicine to augment blood for those that are being treated for many injuries and illnesses.
The need for blood donations is ongoing and that has not changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, how health services operate and how people used these services has changed drastically.
However, as health services resume and reopen and as we head further into the summer months, the demand for donations is rising.
What to Expect When Donating Blood
New COVID19 health and safety regulations require that all donation centres operate by appointment only. No walk-ins are allowed. This minimizes the number of people in centres, and allows for adequate social distancing measures to be implemented.
“Safety is our high priority,” said Maroudas.
“In addition to our routine cleaning, infection-control and screening practices, in light of recent developments with COVID-19, we have introduced enhanced cleaning measures, wellness stations and physical distancing measures to better protect anyone who comes through our doors.” she added.
Masks are also provided to donors and must be worn while in blood donor centres. Donors can also bring their own masks.
Only healthy people are eligible to donate blood. All prospective donors are screened for any symptoms of illness, including flu symptoms. “We ask donors to stay at home if they are not feeling well, since only healthy people are eligible to donate blood,” Maroudas said.
Travellers cannot donate until their 14-day self-isolation has ended and they have tested negative for COVID-19. Donations cannot be made if you have tested positive for COVID-19, come in contact with someone who has contracted the virus, or if you have developed a fever or cough after travelling.
Here are additional measures in place to keep blood donors, employees and volunteers safe:
- All individuals in the donation centre must wear a mask. Masks will be provided, or donors can choose to bring their own masks.
- Individuals must complete a pre-screening questionnaire before entering the building. Anyone displaying COVID-19 related symptoms will not be allowed to enter the building.
- Temperature checks with non-contact thermometers. Individuals with a temperature will not be allowed to enter the building.
- Enhanced cleaning measures have been implemented. For example, the donations centres will be cleaned and sanitized more frequently and commonly touched surfaces will be wiped down continuously throughout working hours.
- Enhanced physical distancing measures have been implemented. Donation beds are six feet apart and wating chairs are at least six feet apart.
- Multiple wellness stations have been put up throughout the centre. At the stations, individuals will be asked to sanitize and wash their hands upon entering and before leaving the building.
To read a full list of blood donation safety measures: click here
To learn more about blood donor eligibility, click here visit the Canadian Blood Services website here.
Book an appointment to donate blood
If you are healthy and eligible to donate blood, you can book an appointment on the Blood Services website at https://www.blood.ca/en, on the GiveBlood mobile app or call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283).
Where and when to donate blood in Niagara Region communities:
Aug. 21 and Sept. 18, 2020 – 2 pm to 7 pm
Livingston Activity Centre
18 Livingston Avenue, Grimsby, ON
Oct. 5, 2020 – 1:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Lincoln Senior Centre
4361 Central Avenue, Beamsville, ON
Sept. 11, 2020 – 3pm to 8 pm
John Calvin School
320 Station Street, Smithville, ON
Aug. 28, 2020 – 3 pm to 8 pm
Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 613
141 Highway 20 East, Fonthill, ON
Aug. 13 & Oct. 8, 2020 – 1:30 – 7:30 pm
Sept 19: 8:30 am to 1:30 pm
Welland Community Complex Centre
145 Lincoln St., Welland, ON
St. Catharines (main Niagara Region office)
July 30, Aug. 1, Aug. 3, Aug. 4, 2020 – hours below
New summer hours:
St. Catharines Blood Centre
Henley Plaza, 395 Ontario Street, St Catharines, ON
Monday & Tuesday: 12 pm to 7 pm
Wednesday: 2pm to 7 pm
Thursday: 8 am to 1 pm
Saturday: 8 am to 2 pm
Note: Hours will change in September
Further info: 1-888-236-6283
For additional blood donation centers with dates and hours: Click here