The winter weather and the flu is having an unexpected impact on the amount of blood collected, and Canadian Blood Services has put out the call for donations. Ideal supply levels include five to eight days of O negative blood and CBS says the supply is currently down to just two days.
Despite the low donation numbers, there is no plan to build a permanent clinic or restart mobile clinics in Grande Prairie. Associate Director Judy Jones says instead, they encourage Peace region residents to donate while travelling.
“If you are travelling in the Alberta region check on Blood.ca and you can find a clinic that is close to where you may be travelling. If you’re unable to actually find a clinic there’s other ways to get involved. You can be a potential stem cell donor, you can go online and get the kit sent to your home. Also you can become an organ and tissue donor as well.”
Canadian Blood Services hasn’t brought a mobile blood clinic to Grande Prairie since 2011, citing costs and logistics issues. Jones says the new Grande Prairie Regional Hospital set to open in 2019 will be supplied blood, but there are no plans to begin collecting donations in the city again.
“We do look at many different options when doing our planning and it is based on the hospital demand, the cost for getting the units to and from where we collect it from and how close out actual production site is. So right now we produce the units out of Edmonton and they only have a certain shelf life.”
After blood is collected it is usually processed into two components and distributed back to medical facilities as red blood cells or plasma. Over 900,000 donations are collected annually.
Canadian Blood Services has permanent locations in Edmonton and Calgary and will be holding a mobile clinic in Whitecourt March 21st.