Blood services sees rise in cancellations, no-shows as Omicron spreads

·2 min read
Peter MacDonald, the director of donor relations in the Atlantic region for Canadian Blood Services, says people donate by appointment to reduce risk of COVID-19 spread. (Submitted by Canadian Blood Services - image credit)
Peter MacDonald, the director of donor relations in the Atlantic region for Canadian Blood Services, says people donate by appointment to reduce risk of COVID-19 spread. (Submitted by Canadian Blood Services - image credit)

Canadian Blood Services in New Brunswick is seeing an increase of cancellations and no-shows as COVID-19 case counts rise.

There's no immediate impact on services, but if the trend continues there could be a shortage, said Peter MacDonald, the regional director for the Atlantic Canada branch of the service. He said the cancellations are related to the number of cases as well as the number of people required to self-isolate.

"That's not the equation that's sustainable for the long term."

As of Tuesday morning there were 5,442 active cases of the virus in New Brunswick. The province is seeing record daily case numbers as the more contagious variant Omicron continues to spread.

Measures to mitigate hesitancy

MacDonald said only four per cent of Canadians are regular donors, and those people are usually 35 or older.

Some people are concerned about possibly contracting COVID-19 while donating blood, he said.

"I want to assure them," MacDonald said.

People are donating by appointment only, and the process has been changed to make it safer.

"It's by appointment only so that we can limit the number of people in our events, ensure safety for our donors, for our staff and for our volunteers," he said.

He said everyone will be wearing masks and staff will be wearing other protective equipment as well.

"There are parts in the process where we can't respect physical distancing, like we can't give you a needle from six feet away," he said. "But there are parts in the process where we've added acrylic barriers."

He said snacks are still given out, but they're grab-and-go.

MacDonald asked people who have to self-isolate or who can't show up for any other reason to cancel the appointment they've made to make room for other people.

"The entire process will have you in and out within the hour," he said. "Juice and cookies will be waiting for you at the end."

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