Canadian Blood Services: Blood and plasma collection disrupted by weather conditions, donors needed now

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Canadian Blood Services: Blood and plasma collection disrupted by weather conditions, donors needed now
Canadian Blood Services: Blood and plasma collection disrupted by weather conditions, donors needed now

Canadian Blood Services is putting out an immediate call for donations as national blood inventory depletes — a situation made worse by recent winter storms across the country.

In B.C., snow combined with freezing rain and plummeting temperatures caused icy roads and power outages, prompting travel advisories to stay off the roads. That, in turn, meant that many blood donations were cancelled, leading to a depletion in the national blood inventory, according to Canadian Blood Services.

According to an agency press release, the national blood inventory has dropped by more than 35 per cent since the start of October. About 10 per cent (1,500) of expected blood and plasma donations during the holiday season did not happen due to heavy snowfall, extreme cold and icy conditions.

To maintain a steady blood and plasma supply for patients this winter season, the agency is urging donors from all communities to give blood — to book and show up to appointments as soon as possible to help restore the blood and plasma supply. Wintry conditions and threats of illness are expected to persist, further affecting future donations as the inventory of several blood types remain far below optimal.

Rick Prinzen, Canadian Blood Services’ chief supply chain officer and vice-president of donor relations, said the weather is causing significant challenges to the non-profit’s redistribution opportunities, with many collection events cancelled since Dec. 20.

He anticipated further disruption in the weeks ahead from winter weather.

“Patients across Canada need donors more than ever as we head into the new year,” he said. “Poor weather can also create an increase in trauma events, increasing the demand for blood. Every donation counts. It could literally save a life.”

Currently, the agency has a supply of several blood types on hand for approximately three or four days. The ideal inventory of fresh blood products, he explained, is between five and eight days.

By filling up all open appointments and maintaining existing appointments, he hopes to turn this around. There is also a critical need for platelets and lifesaving O-negative blood, the universal blood type, both of which need to be continuously replenished.

How to donate blood in Burnaby and New West

Canadian Blood Services is open normal hours this week, and into the new year.

Burnaby and New West residents can book appointments online at blood.ca, on the GiveBlood app, or by calling 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283).

For those looking to donate blood this week, same-day and open appointment slots are available at many donation events — Vancouver locations like Canadian Blood Services on Oak Street and Dunsmuir Street, have open slots for Dec. 27.

Riverside Community Church in Port Coquitlam and Canadian Blood Services location in Surrey have openings for Thursday, Dec. 29 and Friday, Dec. 30, respectively.

Burnaby will have several dates open up in the new year as mobile donation centres come back:

  • Aubrey Elementary — 1075 Stratford Ave.
  • Maywood Community School — 4567 Imperial St,
  • Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre — 6688 Southoaks Cr.
  • Byrne Creek Secondary School — 7777 18th St.
  • Simon Fraser University-Burnaby (SUB) — 8888 University Dr.

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