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Canadian Blood Services worried about appointment cancellations during pandemic

Agency says it’s still safe to donate blood during COVID-19 crisis

Canadian Blood Services (CBS) is urging the public to continue donating blood in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Isra Levy, CBS’s vice-president of medical affairs and intervention, said the agency is worried about a spike in appointment cancellations.

He said, although Canada’s inventory is currently strong, the cancellations are particularly concerning in light of blood shortages already being reported in other countries affected by the pandemic.

“Patients depend on these lifesaving donations,” he said.

“Every day they are needed for patients undergoing surgery and cancer treatment, as well as to save lives following traumas such as motor vehicle accidents.”

Levy said that donating blood in Canada continues to be safe, and that “robust” cleaning and infection-control practices protect all donors, staff and volunteers.

RELATED: B.C. man honoured for rolling up his sleeve for 150 blood donations

He said all prospective donors are also carefully screened for any symptoms of illness, including very mild ones.

The screening occurs during both appointment booking and upon arrival at the donor centre or event. Those with any symptoms are not allowed to donate blood and are instructed not to visit, Levy said.

The next blood donor clinic in Abbotsford takes place Wednesday, March 18 from noon to 7 p.m. at Garden Park Tower, 2825 Clearbrook Rd. (This was originally slated to take place at the UFV Abbotsford campus, but the location has been changed.)

Other clinics take place Saturday, March 28 at Abbotsford Pentecostal Assembly (3145 Gladwin Rd.); Tuesday, April 7 at Emmanuel Mennonite Church (3471 Clearbrook Rd.) and Saturday, April 25 at Cascade Community Church (35190 DeLair Rd.).

Visit blood.ca or call 1-888-236-6283 for more information or to make an appointment. Walk-in appointments are also available at all locations.

RELATED: Canada to close borders to outsiders, except North Americans, trade to slow spread of COVID-19

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