Blood donor clinics across the globe have been shut down since mid-March to avoid large groups of people gathering in the same place and to protect the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic. This does not mean the need for blood, plasma and blood by-products has in any way, decreased. North American blood centres such as the Red Cross and Canadian Blood Services are experiencing a massive shortage of blood supply in hospitals. The inventory will get critical if donations do not increase. It is still very safe to donate blood. Facilities are open in major cities to accommodate people who make an appointment and social distancing is practiced on the number of staff and donators allowed in the clinics. Fortunately, the stay at home mandate means less car accidents and less elective surgeries being performed, however, the life saving need for blood and blood by-products is still a frontline issue.
Donors are asked to ensure that they are healthy at the time of donating, answer a pre-screening questionnaire before their scheduled appointment and social distancing while at the facility. The lack of community clinics does not mean the opportunity to help doesn’t exist.