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Coronavirus: Blood donations decline at Peterborough donor centre during pandemic

Canadian Blood Services in Peterborough, Ont., needs to fill more than 100 appointments in June.
Canadian Blood Services in Peterborough, Ont., needs to fill more than 100 appointments in June. Paul Dinsdale/Global News

The need for blood donors remains a high priority during the summer months.

As of Wednesday, there were 183 open appointments at the Canadian Blood Services donation centre on George Street in Peterborough.

“There was an increase after PM Trudeau and Dr. Theresa Tam publicly requested Canadians donate blood,” said Debbi Barfoot, territory manager for Canadian Blood Services. “However, as the pandemic continues, we have seen a decline in Peterborough.”

READ MORE: Canadian Blood Services in Regina seeks to fill 500+ appointments by the end of June

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Barfoot notes that the daily goal at the donation centre is 53 units and that some days in June still have more than 20 appointment slots left.

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“We are in a marathon, not a sprint,” she said. “The need for blood continues and as we move into the summer months, we really need the appointments at the donor centre filled.”

Barfoot said traditionally the summer months see a decline in donors as many people take vacations or head to the cottage.

“We are not sure what this summer will bring. It is our hope that if more people are staying home, and travel is not taking place, that it will remain a priority to donate blood.”

According to the Canadian Blood Services website, a number of pandemic-related measures are in place to keep donors and its workers safe.

Those include active wellness screening, hand sanitization, spacing chairs in seating areas and donor seats two metres apart for physical distancing, increased cleaning frequency of all equipment and surfaces, and single-use Ziploc bags being used to hold blood donation bags.

Masks are mandatory for employees, volunteers and donors.

Donors are pre-screened when they book their appointment and receive reminder emails prior to their arrival.

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Donors will be asked to defer and employees/volunteers will be asked to not enter the building if they are symptomatic for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

READ MORE: COVID-19 survivors’ blood could help others beat the disease, scientists hope

Upon arrival, donors will receive a temperature check at the donor wellness checkpoint.  Donors are being asked to not consume a hot beverage five to 10 minutes before an appointment.

All tables have been removed from refreshment areas to limit surfaces and the use of water coolers, reusable glasses and mugs have been suspended.

All opened and unwrapped snacks have been removed. Only pre-wrapped snacks are available and offered directly to donors.

The clinic is only accepting appointments that can be booked at blood.ca.

The Peterborough clinic has added hours to accommodate appointments and is now open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays.

According to the website, appointments can be booked between now and Sept. 11.