OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The federal chief public health officer is telling Canadians that donating blood is safe, despite an alarming dip in donations.
Dr. Theresa Tam told the Senate on Wednesday that both Canadian Blood Services and Hema-Quebec have put “amazing” systems in place to screen donors for symptoms of COVID-19 before allowing them into the blood donation centres.
However, Canadian Blood Services is concerned the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a spike in cancellations for donation appointments in several cities.
During this pandemic, blood donations are much in demand and appreciated. It's safe to donate — the staff of Canadian Blood Services employ the utmost precautions to protect the well-being of donors. @CanadasLifeline #COVID19 #CdnHealth #GiveBlood pic.twitter.com/NB5akxajuS
— Robert Thirsk (@RobertThirsk) March 24, 2020
According to the agency, those told by public health agencies to self-quarantine or who live with a person suspected or confirmed as having the novel coronavirus are barred from donating blood for 14 days after their last contact with them.
The country’s blood inventory is currently strong, but the cancellations are worrying to the agency given shortages reported in other countries affected by COVID-19.
B.C. recorded 42 coronavirus cases on Wednesday, including the province’s 14th death. It is again linked to the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver. B.C. now has 659 confirmed cases.
Ontario reported five new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the provincial total to 13. The latest figures come as the province saw its largest single-day spike in new cases at 100.
Quebec recorded three more deaths related to coronavirus, bringing the total in that province to six.
Alberta has seen one such death.
Overall, the death toll in Canada due to COVID-19 was 35 as of Wednesday, with the recorded total of confirmed cases surpassing 3,000.