Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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Demand for blood rising as COVID restrictions relax

The demand for blood from hospitals is rising as COVID restrictions allow for more operations to take place.

At the same time, Canadian Blood Services is seeing a somewhat normal summertime dip in blood donors being compounded by things opening up in Ontario for the first time in an extended period.

Debbi Barfoot, a Territory Manger with Canadian Blood Services, says a drop in donors is normally seen in the summer as people tend to be busier with other activities, but that has seemed to reach new heights as people emerge from the most recent round of lockdowns.

Barfoot says that the dip has come at an especially inconvenient time for hospitals.

“We’ve seen sort of a decline in the collections and with that at the very same time the demand has increased so we encourage new and existing donors to support hospital patients by continuing to donate blood,” Barfoot said.

She added that the pandemic overall has impacted the ability to collect blood, with extended physical measures limiting collection opportunities.

Overall clinics have had to space things out more, eliminate walk in donations, dedicate more time to sanitation before, during and after appointments, as well as add additional wellness and temperature checks. 

The time and space clinics are permitted to use has heavily decreased.

One positive, Barfoot says, is that after a brief window where there was little clarity around COVID-19 the donor bases in most areas have remained loyal and consistent.

She says they even saw a wave of new donors who had more time on their hands thanks to the pandemic.

She added that overall there has been little blood donation concerns related to COVID or the vaccine, and donors have been feeling very secure seeing the increased precautions and sanitation measures taken at clinics.

Now, however, donations have seen a lull while the need is high.

Canadian Blood Services are calling for existing and new donors to make an appointment, especially those with the universal donor O-Negative blood type which clinics are seeing a shortage in.

Kingston has a blood clinic on Gardiner’s Road, nearby clinics and more information can be found here.

Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporterhttp://ygknews.ca
Born and raised in Whitby, Ontario, Owen has been living in Kingston for about three years after starting the band Willy Nilly. Prior to that he worked at CKLB radio in Yellowknife and completed studies in Niagara College's Broadcasting program.

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