Urgent call for blood donations in Peterborough as supply critically low

Click to play video: '‘I’ve never seen our blood levels this low’: Canadian Blood Services calls for more donations'
‘I’ve never seen our blood levels this low’: Canadian Blood Services calls for more donations
Canadian Blood Services is making an urgent plea for more donations. In Peterborough, the supply of blood for emergencies could become dangerously low. In the next four weeks, 344 people are needed to give blood. Germain Ma has more. – Sep 22, 2023

Canadian Blood Services is making an urgent plea for more blood donations while in Peterborough, Ont., the supply for emergencies could become dangerously low.

At the service’s clinic in Peterborough, community development manager Jill Gemmiti said blood inventory is critically low.

“O (negative) is the universal blood type and that’s the one we use in emergencies,” she told Global News on Friday. “We actually only have a two-day supply right now.”

Nurse Wendy Connelly said that low a supply is “unheard of.”

“We were all a little shocked when we got the statistics,” she said.

Connelly said she not only works at the clinic but has been a blood donor for decades and knows first-hand the difference it can make.

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“I’ve had two units of blood myself and it was after a miscarriage,” she said.

Peterborough Regional Health Centre requires more than 3,900 units of blood each year for trauma and emergencies and everyday medical care.

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But Canadian Blood Services (CBS) said across Ontario the distribution of blood to hospitals is outpacing the number of donations being made.

“In the five years, that I’ve been with Canadian Blood Services, I’ve never seen our blood levels this low,” she said.

According to CBS, just 1.5 per cent of Ontario’s population donates blood.

Over the next four weeks, the Peterborough donor centre needs 344 people to give blood.

Among the donors on Friday was Ren Armstrong, a first-time donor.

“I think it’s important to take part and help out your community,” he said.

Also at the clinic was a familiar face, Peter Wotherspoon, who was making his 98th blood donation.

“In a perfect world, this is what would happen. This is a beautiful thing, people donate freely,” he said.

To help drum up blood donations, a mobile blood clinic will be held at the Trent University campus on Oct. 2. There are more than 60 appointments waiting to be filled.

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Gemmiti said she hopes the lag in donations will end but she says it appears giving “the gift of life” just hasn’t been on top of people’s minds.

“Honestly, with COVID, you’re seeing so many things open up and people are getting busy doing other things,” she said. “When COVID was happening, we had no problem getting donations.”

— with files from Germain Ma/Global News Peterborough

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