Staff at the Canadian Blood Services donation centre at 3449 Saanich Rd. demonstrate their mandatory social distancing protocols. (Photo courtesy of Ann Chabert)

Staff at the Canadian Blood Services donation centre at 3449 Saanich Rd. demonstrate their mandatory social distancing protocols. (Photo courtesy of Ann Chabert)

Extra blood donation event added in Saanich an opportunity to ‘save a life’

March 15 call-out issued for donors after UVic mobile clinic cancelled

The Canadian Blood Services is issuing a call for donors at a March 15 event in Saanich.

Typically, the Canadian Blood Services donation centre at 3449 Saanich Rd. (across from Uptown) is closed on Mondays because staff operate mobile community clinics in municipalities across the south Island, said Ann Chabert, territory manager for Vancouver Island. However, if the mobile clinic can’t take place in a planned location, staff shift gears and add an extra donation day at the centre. This results in a call-out for donors.

On March 15, a mobile clinic was set to take place on the University of Victoria campus, but the event had to be cancelled. Now, staff have 30 appointments for that day between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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

Appointments can be made online at blood.ca, on the GiveBlood app or by phone at 1-888-236-6283. New donors can complete a pre-screening form while booking and will be given information about what to bring to their appointment, which lasts about 45 minutes.

COVID-19 has forced the Canadian Blood Services to adapt the donation process – including reducing the number of appointments to permit social distancing – but Chabert says they have seen “strong support from our donor base” as well as an influx of first-time donors. She attributes this to society’s increased focus on health care during the pandemic.

Chabert acknowledged that many donors miss the post-donation socializing and snacking but said friends are encouraged to chat from a distance while making their donation instead.

“Save a life while visiting your friends,” she said. “It’s a good excuse to get out of the house and it’s a wonderful gift to give.”

READ ALSO: ‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

Appointments can also be made for Tuesday to Thursday from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and some Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Those interested in the weekly Monday mobile clinics will find scheduled events across the south Island through mid-April.

The March 22 event will take place at the Mill Bay Shawnigan Lake Community Centre from noon to 6 p.m. On March 29, staff plan to be in Sidney (location to be confirmed) from 1 to 6 p.m. There will be no mobile clinic on Easter Monday (April 5), but staff will be back out in the community on April 12 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Colwood Church at 2250 Sooke Rd.

Chabert noted that the mobile blood donation events are subject to change depending on the circumstances.

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


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devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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