The need for blood is constant, even during a pandemic.
And when donors show up for their scheduled appointments in Campbell River this week, they’re going to notice some changes. Chief among them: the need for an appointment.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian Blood Services has instituted a number of changes at blood drives across the country, including limiting the number of people at the venue.
Longtime Canadian Blood Services (CBS) community and clinic volunteer Layne Marshal says that normally people are encouraged to make appointments so the flow of people in and out of the clinic can be managed.
“The one difference now is everybody must have an appointment,” he says. “If you don’t have an appointment when you show up, you won’t be allowed in.”
For veteran blood donors, a lot will look the same. There’s still going to be a waiting area, and donor beds and snacks at the end of the road.
Donors will be met at the entrance to the temporary clinic, located once again at the Campbell River Community Centre downtown, and screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone exhibiting symptoms will be turned away.
Physical distancing is being enforced at clinics. Chairs in the waiting room are spaced two metres apart, as are donor beds.
Cleaning is being stepped up as well, with more cleaning taking place more often.
People will be asked to remain in their seat or bed until a space opens up for them in the next area.
CBS is still feeding donors, but rather than a communal water-cooler-type set-up, only drinks and snacks that have been individually pre-packaged will be handed out.
In March, a call went out to Canadians to replenish the country’s blood bank. Canadians answered, but there continues to be a need for blood across the country.
For each blood drive, Marshal says that CBS sets a quota for how many people they want to receive blood from. For the last two years, Campbell River has been over the 100 per cent mark.
Even though Marshal won’t be one of the friendly faces you see at the clinic this time around – he falls into the over 65 category and won’t be volunteering at this month’s clinics – he hopes people show up to meet the donation need.
“I don’t want to see people stay away and not donate,” he says. “Sad to say, we still need blood. The donor clinics are where we get it.”
Campbell River appointments began April 21 and are available for April 22-23 as well.
To book an appointment, visit blood.ca, download the Give Blood app, or call 1-888-TODONATE (1-888-236-6283).