FILE – A bag of blood is shown at a clinic in Montreal, Thursday, November 29, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

FILE – A bag of blood is shown at a clinic in Montreal, Thursday, November 29, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

‘Watching very closely’: Blood services watching for impact from COVID-19 second wave

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million population give blood on a regular basis

Canadian Blood Services is closely watching the second wave of COVID-19 to make sure the national blood supply remains secure.

The organization has not been able to accommodate as many donors at clinics due to physical distancing required since the novel coronavirus appeared earlier this year.

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million population give blood on a regular basis.

Canadian Blood Services operates a national inventory that allows products to be regularly shifted around the country to meet hospital and patient needs. But the inventory has a shelf life — a year for frozen plasma, 42 days for red blood cells and five days for platelets — so it takes some work to ensure supply continues to meet demand.

So far, Canadians are still giving enough blood.

“Things are still in good shape with the blood system in terms of our inventory. It’s a healthy inventory right now for sure,” said Peter MacDonald, director of donor relations.

“We’re watching very closely as things move forward and we get hot spots across the country along with the second wave.”

MacDonald said when shutdowns went into place in March, there was less demand for blood, because many elective surgeries were postponed and trauma cases dropped in emergency rooms as people stayed home and off the roads.

READ MORE: Study shows fewer than 1 per cent Canadian blood donors had COVID antibodies

The resumptions of elective surgeries in the summer increased demand and the agency hasn’t seen that change in the second wave, he said.

“In July, hospital demand got back to pre-COVID levels. We haven’t seen that dip yet in the second wave in terms of demand that we saw in March and April,” MacDonald said.

“We’re monitoring the inventory every single day and forecasting up to eight and 12 weeks as to where we expect it to be. The forecast is good right now, but under these conditions it can change pretty quickly.”

A Calgary vascular surgeon said doctors have been in constant contact with Canadian Blood Services since March.

“Are people not going to donate or are we going to need more blood?” asked Dr. Greg Samis, an assistant clinical professor at the University of Calgary. “Will the crisis end up with so many people so sick that we won’t be able to get blood donation from anyone?”

Samis said Canadian Blood Services has a green, yellow or red alert scale. He said it has been mostly green and “we haven’t been at red at all.”

But even with another reduction in elective surgeries, it’s doubtful blood demand will drop off, he said.

“There are a few things in cardiac surgery and vascular surgery where we would be doing operations during COVID … but almost all of it is going to be trauma and unplanned events,” Samis said.

“We need an ongoing bank account and we don’t want to keep withdrawing from it until we hit below the critical level.”

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

blood donorCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Duncan area this weekend

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Sorting food to deliver to community members isolating due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Back row from left: Philomena Wilson, Sosefina Aleck, Ethan Wilson and Lucetta Wilson. In front is Kennedy Aleck. (Submitted)
“Let’s share a meal even if I can’t sit with you”: Cowichan woman’s food drive helps feed members in isolation

Positive response to missing ceremonies and rising racism benefits dozens of households

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the legislature, Jan. 11, 2021. (B.C. government)
Vancouver Island smashes COVID-19 high: 47 new cases in a day

Blowing past previous records, Vancouver Island is not matching B.C.s downward trend

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. [CDC]
Lake Cowichan daycare closes for 10 days due to COVID-19 exposure

A client at Creative Angels Daycare came in contact with someone who tested positive

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

The cost of potentially counting deer regionwide was among the issues that prompted Capital Regional District committee members to vote against pursuing a greater CRD role in deer management. (Black Press Media file photo)
Expanded deer management a non-starter for Greater Victoria

Capital Regional District committee maintains current level of support

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)
Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Most Read