Calgary — The relaxed restrictions on COVID-19 will put a strain on Canada’s blood supply in the rather normal summer.
Several states, especially Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, have begun to lift restrictions, resulting in increased demand.
“As the state slowly opens, we may return to some normal activity. Hospital demand is increasing,” said Tracy, Prairie, Canada Blood Services and Donor Relations Director, Northwest Territory. Smith says.
“I can imagine they are trying to catch up with some of the backlogs, some of those surgeries put on hold during the pandemic. They put them on … (and) blood products. I’m trying to incorporate it. “
The need for blood products decreased dramatically 16 months ago, as the pandemic almost stopped the trip and canceled everything except the most important surgery.
At the same time, Canadian Blood Services was unable to accommodate many donors due to physical distance requirements in the clinic, so the two balanced each other.
Approximately 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million population regularly give blood.
Canadian Blood Services operates a national inventory that allows products to be regularly shifted nationwide to meet the needs of hospitals and patients.
However, inventory has a shelf life of 1 year for frozen plasma, 42 days for red blood cells, and 5 days for platelets, so some work is required to keep supply meeting demand.
According to Smith, blood agencies have made some changes in anticipation of growing needs, such as extended business hours at some donation centers and mobile clinics, but the number of donors that can be accommodated at one time. Many pandemic safety measures have been taken, including restrictions.
“We only accept bookings from donors, not bring-in to control physical distances,” Smith said. “It is more important for donors to fulfill our promises.”
Smith couldn’t say how much blood demand has increased in the last six weeks, but it’s needed to supply O-negative blood, a universal blood type used primarily in emergency rooms. Said it was clear.
“We have a supply of just over four days, sometimes down to 3 to 31/2,” she said. “This shows the increase in demand we have seen.”
Calgary’s vascular and trauma surgeon said the operating room has been very busy in the last six weeks.
“Sure, there’s no slowdown. It’s the opposite direction to catch up,” said Dr. Paul Cantor.
“At certain times of the year, (blood supply) is always a concern, but few people have encountered a situation where they don’t have what they need at the end of the day.”
According to Cantle, it’s no wonder that blood demand has increased as people go out more often in the summer, drive on the freeway, and spend more time on physical activity.
“It was inevitable. People just go out there and enjoy the summer. They go out on ATVs, horses and mountain bikes,” he said.
“It’s the same every year, but this year may be a bit more extreme as people are trying to make up for the lost time.”
Bill Gray Brand