Dedicated donors in Aldergrove, along with Canadian Blood Services (CBS), are urging people to continue donating blood in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aldergrove’s Chelsea Elliott, who donates blood every 56 days, is worried Canadians dependent upon blood donations will be endangered if people keep refrain from giving due to COVID-19 concerns.
Vice-president of medical affairs and intervention for CBS, Dr. Isra Levy, admitted that donations dropped about 20 per cent late last week because of concerns over the pandemic.
Inventories of blood and blood products can change very quickly, Levy continued.
“Every day [blood donations] are needed for patients undergoing surgery and cancer treatment, as well as to save lives following traumas such as motor vehicle accidents.”
“Patients depend on these lifesaving donations,” he said.
Elliott has personally seen those of her family recover with the help of blood transfusions.
“It has been life-saving for them,” she said.
The 30-year-old teacher is hoping those who scheduled their appointments will keep them and continue to give blood.
“I have an appointment scheduled in April and I’ll still be going,” Elliott committed.
— Canadian Blood Services (@CanadasLifeline) March 16, 2020
Blood clinics “have a thorough screening process and they are constantly sterilizing everything. I feel very safe going into a donation clinic,” Elliott encouraged.
Levy corroborated that donating blood in Canada continues to be safe with “robust” cleaning and infection-control practices that protect its donors, staff and volunteers.
Current evidence also suggests that COVID-19 is not transmissible through the transfusion of blood and blood products.
Elliott first donated blood after inspiration from the late Chris Van Bugnum, a manager of Aldergrove blood clinics, and donor of more than 100 units of blood and platelets.
Others, including Langley Township councillor Bob Long – also an Aldergrove resident – have committed to donating blood during the public health crisis.
Unless he is suffering symptoms, Long said, he will donate next on March 31.
The councillor follows in the footsteps of his father, who began giving blood in England before his move to Canada.
“He gave blood every 56 days for as long as I can remember,” Long told the Aldergrove Star.
Canadian Blood Services has updated eligibility requirements for donors to include restrictions placed upon those who have been under quarantine, or live in a household with someone afflicted with COVID-19.
Levy said prospective donors are also carefully screened for any symptoms of illness, including very mild ones.
The screening occurs during both the 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 added.
Aldergrove’s next blood clinic is scheduled for Saturday, April 11 at Parkside Elementary (3300 270 St.).
For more information or to make an appointment visit blood.ca or call 1-888-236-6283. Walk-in appointments are also available at all locations.