VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — If you feel the spirit to donate blood, now is apparently the time to book an appointment.
Canadian Blood Services (CBS) says demand for blood will go up as easing of COVID-19 restrictions leads to an increase in elective surgeries.
“As elective surgeries come back, we’ve already seen a jump in demand already from the hospitals as they start to build up their blood banks,” says David Patterson, Director of Donor Relations for B.C. and Yukon.
Patterson also tells NEWS 1130 that as Canadians get back to normal schedules with less free time, he expects the number of appointments to be affected.
“We know that as things return to normal, people are going to go back to having less time. They’re going to be back at work.”
Patterson says the pandemic has so far been a “tale of two worlds,” with some people cancelling appointments out of safety concerns, while there was also a surge of new donors.
“A number of people found a way to become engaged and to help patients,” he says of the 20 per cent increase in first-time donors.
CBS had to make many adjustments in its clinics to fight the spread of coronavirus, such as adding space between beds and requiring appointments from all donors. The organization also continues to ask additional screening questions regarding COVID-19.
He adds that inventory was in good shape before the pandemic intensified in March.
“We saw some challenges overall in trying to maintain that same inventory,” says Patterson.
Despite 2,800 open appointments to fill before July 1, Patterson is hopeful going forwards.
“Don’t worry if that appointment is three weeks or six weeks from now, we’re going to need that gift that you’ve got for patients.”
For more information call 1-800-2-DONATE or visit CBS’s website.
-With files from Tim James