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Nearly 300 Burnaby blood donations needed by end of August to meet demand

Numerous people across Canada have also said they have cancelled appointments after Canadian Blood Services removed its mandatory mask requirement.
A completed blood donation in a bag.

Canadian Blood Services says its blood donation quota could soon be in trouble as it already struggles in the summer months.

The organization says it has 57,000 appointments available across Canada that must be filled before the end of the month to in order to keep up with supply and demand, including 9,000 in B.C. and nearly 300 in Burnaby. 

It says one in two Canadians are eligible to donate, but only one in 81 follow through. 

But a recent decision by Canadian Blood Services could make the situation even tougher with summer months already being a challenge.

On July 25, it was announced mandatory mask-wearing and physical distancing requirements were being suspended. 

"Although not required, masks help curb the spread of COVID-19 and are welcome in our environments and available to anyone who chooses to wear one," a tweet from the non-profit reads. 

The announcement was met with backlash from the public, with many saying they were cancelling their already booked appointments until the previously mandatory COVID-19 measures are brought back. 

"I just donated last week, but I guess I'll need to cancel the appointment I've made in September to make my 137th donation," Scott Piatkowski tweeted. 

"Let me know when you've reinstated your masking requirements." 

"This is disappointing news and I have cancelled my booked donation on August 10 as a result," Brenna Clarke Gray tweeted. 

When asked by the NOW if the decision to remove mask and physical distancing requirements has led to a large decrease in appointments, particularly in the Lower Mainland, Canadian Blood Services said as a community setting, they're able to shift from mandatory to optional measures. 

"Canadian Blood Services has suspended mandatory physical distancing and masking in our buildings, vehicles, and collections events," an emailed statement reads. "Although no longer required, masks are welcome in our environments and are available to anyone who chooses to wear one. We continue to ensure that surgical masks and N95s are available to staff, volunteers, visitors and donors.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, Canadian Blood Services' approach has been cautious and measured. All decisions have been made in consultation with our medical and epidemiology experts and, at minimum, meeting applicable public health requirements. Canadian Blood Services is a unique organization. Although we provide life-saving products to hospitals, we are not a hospital or healthcare setting.

"As a community setting, we are able to shift from mandatory to optional measures. In recent months we have seen restrictions being eased in many other community venues. This can happen because the majority of Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19, and illness now caused by COVID-19 is far less severe in most cases."

Canadian Blood Services says it will reintroduce mandatory masks and physical distancing if it becomes necessary.

As of this publication (Aug. 3), exactly 271 blood-donation appointments are available in Burnaby.

If you wish to make a contribution, you can visit Canadian Blood Services' website to register and find more information.