Canadian Blood Services is bringing its donation clinics back to Collingwood and Wasaga Beach.
There are three donation clinics scheduled in the two municipalities at the end of July and beginning of August.
“The need for blood has now risen to pre-pandemic levels,” said Elaine St.Pierre, territory manager and donor relations for Canadian Blood Services. “It’s imperative for us that we get back to the business of collecting blood in our communities.”
In Collingwood, the blood donor clinics are usually at the Legion, but the building is currently leased by the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital and is set up as an alternative health facility (field hospital) until at least the end of August. The facility is not in use currently, but, according to hospital officials, is ready should a COVID-19 surge occur in the region.
St. Pierre said Canadian Blood Services will be hosting a clinic at Bear Estate in Collingwood on Wednesday, August 12 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The clinics are longer than usual to accommodate a similar volume of donors with fewer beds in the room.
The last clinic in Collingwood took place April 8 at the Legion, but several appointments were cancelled by Canadian Blood Services to reduce the volume of donors in the building. There’s been no local clinic since then.
In Wasaga Beach, blood donation clinics are usually hosted at the RecPlex. As a municipal facility, the recreation building has been closed to the public. The last blood donor clinic in Wasaga Beach took place on Feb. 8.
St. Pierre said the town of Wasaga Beach has granted special use of the RecPlex for donor clinics on July 29 (1 p.m. to 7 p.m.) and August 8 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.).
The July 29 and August 12 clinics can accommodate 86 donors and the August 8 clinic can accommodate 72 donors.
A typical pre-pandemic clinic in Collingwood would see about 120 donors.
“We’re hoping it won’t be a problem to fill … and people will still remember the importance of it,” said St. Pierre. “The need is rising over the summer months.”
She noted donating blood during a pandemic can also lift your spirits.
“There are lots of feelings of helplessness now … This is something you can do to help and to feel like you are giving back,” she said.
Appointments will now be mandatory for blood donor clinics. Due to provincial rules about physical distancing, the clinics will not be allowing walk-in donations.
All donors are required to wear a mask, and if you don’t have one, Canadian Blood Services will supply you with a reusable one you can keep.
Staff will take your temperature at the door, and will ask a series of screening questions related to COVID-19.
St. Pierre said there’s no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through blood transmissions, so if someone is asymptomatic and carrying the virus without knowing it, it won’t impact the patient receiving the blood.
Canadian Blood Services’ goal is to fill all the available appointments for all three clinics.
“These are big shoes to fill in a short amount of time,” said St. Pierre.
Adding to the strain of not having local clinics for a few months, Canadian Blood Services also announced it will be suspending Stayner blood donation clinic events.
“We are deeply grateful to donors in Stayner for their commitment over the years and encourage them to continue contributing to Canada’s Lifeline,” said St. Pierre.
To book an appointment for any upcoming donation event, download the GiveBlood app for your smartphone, call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or visit blood.ca.