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Canadian Blood Services looks to fill 300 appointments in London by end of next week

FILE - A bag of blood is shown at a clinic in Montreal, Thursday, November 29, 2012.
FILE - A bag of blood is shown at a clinic in Montreal, Thursday, November 29, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

As elective surgeries put on hold by the coronavirus pandemic resume at hospitals across the country, Canadian Blood Services is calling on residents in London, and across Canada, to help meet a rising demand for blood.

In particular, officials say they’re looking to fill at least 300 blood donation appointments by the end of next week in London alone.

“Over 2,300 appointments still need to be filled by Canada Day throughout the country, and over 43,000 appointments by the end of July,” said Canadian Blood Services Territory Manager, Jamie Reichman, on Friday.

“We have three hospitals in London that see so many surgeries happening and we’re always called to supply them with blood and blood products that they need,” she said.

“We really need Londoners and members of the surrounding communities to step up.”

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When the pandemic began, Canadian Blood Services reported a drop in donations due to public concerns about the virus.

The agency later saw an uptick in donations following calls by the chief public health officer and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Since then, while donations have been steady, Reichman notes there has been a drop over the last one to two weeks due to the agency increasing its collections targets.

“And that’s just to make up for the mobile events that we had to cancel since the onset of the pandemic. So we’re kind of playing catch up right now,” she said.

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The need for donations comes not just as hospital procedures ramp up, but as more people hit the roads for the summer, something Canadian Blood Services says often translates into a higher number of accidents that result in injuries needing blood transfusions.

Read more: June 8: Resumption of surgeries draining Canada’s blood supply amid coronavirus

Canadian Blood Services operates a national inventory that allows products to be regularly shifted around the country to meet hospital and patient needs.

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But the inventory has a shelf life — a year for frozen plasma, 42 days for red blood cells and five days for platelets.

Canadian Blood Services’ national blood inventory as seen on the agency’s website on June 26, 2020. Blood types with less than eight days are “especially needed.”
Canadian Blood Services’ national blood inventory as seen on the agency’s website on June 26, 2020. Blood types with less than eight days are “especially needed.”. Canadian Blood Services

According to its website, Canadian Blood Services says it needs donations of all blood types, but lists B- and O- as the two it has the least of.

Earlier this month, the agency reported that the amount of blood it could collect nationwide was around 90 per cent due to physical distancing guidelines and other safety measures in donor centres.

About 400,000 Canadians give blood regularly nationwide.

Read more: 271 coronavirus deaths could have been prevented by removing 4-bed care rooms, study suggests

Londoners looking to donate can do so at 820 Wharncliffe Rd. S. at the following times:

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  • Monday and Tuesday: 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Thursday: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The agency says though the actual donation takes about five to 10 minutes, you should plan to spend an hour at the donor centre.

Donors are required to wear masks, and those who don’t have their own will be given one. Donors will also have their temperature checked, and will be asked to use provided hand sanitizer.

Those feeling unwell are asked to refrain from donating.

More information on how to book a donation time can be found here or by downloading the GiveBlood mobile app.

— With files from Bill Graveland of The Canadian Press

Resumption of elective surgeries drains Canada’s blood supply
Resumption of elective surgeries drains Canada’s blood supply