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

A Nanaimo man is offering a $300 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person who broke into his SUV and stole components from his drone. (News Bulletin file photo)
Drone owner offering reward after components stolen from his vehicle in Nanaimo

Vehicle break-in happened last month on Departure Bay Road

Regenerative farming that meets genuine needs should take priority over commercial recklessness, says columnist. (Stock photo)
Column: Hubris, greed causing humans to live destructively

Placing the economy as the top priority is licence to destroy natural systems, says columnist

Kyle Patrick McGuire was give a nine-month non-custodial sentencing to be followed by two years of probation on Wednesday, March 3, at the Nanaimo Law Courts. (PQB News file photo)
Bowser man sentenced to house arrest after guilty plea to child pornography offence

Nine-month non-custodial sentence to be followed by two years probation

A concept for development of the Green Thumb property in north Nanaimo. (Barefoot Planning and Design image)
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Develop land with care and thought

It’s getting to the point that you can’t go a block without seeing more apartments, says letter writer

Nanaimo Community Archives is looking for submissions from homeowners who took on exterior renovation projects, no matter how big or how small, for the first Heritage House Renovations Awards. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo archives holding first Heritage House Renovation Awards

Judges want photos and descriptions of exterior renovations that enhanced character of Nanaimo homes

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

A rendering of Front Street transportation improvements set to get underway as soon as next week. (McElhanney image/City of Nanaimo)
Work set to start on Front Street cycle track in downtown Nanaimo

Road work and street reconfiguration project scheduled to start in March, finish in May

The Regional District of Nanaimo’s board is forwarding a motion on illegal dumping to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities’ upcoming annual general meeting. (Kane Blake photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo motion seeks to ask province for help to combat illegal dumping

RDN resolution to be forwarded to Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Most Read