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Call to give blood after Covid-19 hinders donations

From left, Alma Lou Polinar-Swainson, Susan Deverteuil and Lucy Correia, nurse phlebotomists who work at the Bermuda Blood Donor Centre (Photograph supplied)

A call for new blood donors has been made after donations were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bermuda Blood Donor Centre team asked residents to “give the gift of life” and become a blood donor “even if they have not donated before”.

A Bermuda Hospitals Board spokeswoman said: “As an added Christmas bonus, people donating blood in December get a free gift of chocolate, donated to the Blood Donor Centre by BGA Wholesale Distributor.”

She explained: “Christmas is usually a busy social time for people, impacting the number of available donors.

“The pandemic, however, has brought new challenges, with people in quarantine or isolation.

“A number of donors have been unable to donate as usual due to exposures, travel or returning family members from overseas that require them to quarantine.”

Lucy Correia, a nurse phlebotomist, said: “Our donors have been phenomenal throughout the pandemic, continuing to donate regularly.

“However, with positive cases going up every day, more and more people are being impacted either through a positive test or a precautionary quarantine.”

She added: “Once someone is in quarantine, they cannot donate for at least 14 days. This is reducing our number of available donors and cancellations are frequently at short notice as new positive cases come to light.

“We hope people closely follow government guidance on masking and avoiding the three C’s of crowded places, close-contact settings and confined and enclosed spaces.

“It can save lives and prevent quarantines, and for us this means people can safely donate.

“To help us through the season safely we are asking anyone who may not have donated before to seriously consider helping out this season.

“All our blood is from voluntary local donations – we rely on this to save lives and help treat people with conditions such as cancer and sickle cell anaemia.

“Please help us save lives this Christmas and New Year and donate blood.”

The BHB spokeswoman added: “The Blood Donor Centre team has worked really hard to call in donors and keep up blood supplies but there is lot of pressure on the existing blood donor pool who can donate at the moment, which is smaller than usual due to the number of people who are impacted by the pandemic.

“We also have to be aware that if there were a sudden urgent need for blood over the holidays – such as a major accident or disaster incident, for example – having new donors as part of a larger donor pool could be critically important to the response.”

To make an appointment, call 236-5067 or e-mail blood.donor@bhb.bm. For more information and details about donor eligibility, visit the Bermuda Blood Donor Page.

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Published December 24, 2020 at 8:11 am (Updated December 24, 2020 at 8:11 am)

Call to give blood after Covid-19 hinders donations

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