Canadian Blood Services held a mobile donation clinic in Sidney Monday. Upcoming donation clinics are scheduled for Sidney on July 20 and Aug. 17 (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Mobile blood clinic attracts 79 donors in Sidney

Canadian Blood Services readjusts to realities of COVID-19 pandemic

A local official with Canadian Blood Services expects rising demand for blood as the provincial government lifts COVID-19 related restrictions.

“Now that surgeries are back, there is more need for blood,” said Ann Chabert, territory manager with Canadian Blood Services. “People are going to travel, there will be more accidents, so the need for blood will rise again.” She made those comments after Canadian Blood Services held a mobile donation in Sidney on June 22.

Chabert said Canadian Blood Services continued to accept donations throughout the pandemic, with donations dropping in sync with lower demand as the pandemic has changed patterns of demand. “A lot of surgeries, as you know, were cancelled,” she said. This said, Canadian Blood Services also changed its donation procedures during the peak of the pandemic.

Donation hours and the number of donor beds dropped, while the physical space between donor beds increased, she said.

“So therefore the reduction that we had in the number of beds, the [reduced] hours, the [additional] spacing, was kind of in sync with the lower volume of demand for the hospitals,” she said.

Canadian Blood Services also stopped to accept walk-ins, said Chabert, adding it is not clear when the organization will allow walk-ins again. As with many aspects of the pandemic, it is not clear how it will impact previously established patterns, she said.

This said, demand and supply will change accordingly, as British Columbia enters second phase of its reopening, she said.

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Chabert said the primary focus is on the summer, a time of rising demand because of additional travel, but also fewer donations with more people away on vacation.

“We need to get back to sustain our inventory for the coming months,” she said. “So if people can make an appointment to donate, that would be great,” she said.

Chabert said southern Vancouver Island “has been doing great” when asked about local volumes. “We have a very strong and loyal donor group,” she said. “We have been very successful in keeping our donors, making sure that they feel safe and making sure that we can continue to be open under the circumstances.”

The mobile donation clinic offered locals a view of these measures. They included an initial pre-screening during check-in, followed by another screening, which included a temperature check. Donors and staff also wore face-masks in the donation area. “We just want to make sure that the location where the blood donation takes place is a good and healthy space for everyone,” she said.

During the one-day Sidney clinic, 79 people made successful donations after 85 people had signed up, said Chabert.

Any number of reasons may account for the six failed donations, said Chabert. “That could have been low iron [count], that could have been a medication they were on, that could have been anything that happened in the screening that would temporarily defer them from donating blood.”

Canadian Blood Services collects donations in Sidney monthly with upcoming clinics scheduled for July 20 and Aug. 17, Chabert added.

To donate, locals must pre-register online.


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