With National Blood Donor Week upon us, Canadian Blood Services is reminding residents of Parry Sound Muskoka about the importance of giving blood.

The week highlights the essential role blood donors play in supporting Canada’s lifeline.

The organization says demand for blood in the last two weeks has returned to near pre-COVID-19 levels as hospitals resume elective surgeries and procedures that were put on hold due to the pandemic.

In an interview with MyParrySoundNow, Territory Manager Elaine St. Pierre says as these procedures resume – the need for blood is rising fast.

“So, we need to start collecting blood through our, we’ll call it our ‘pre-pandemic’ level – but a couple of challenges are presented. The physical distancing that is required in donor centres puts constraints on how much blood we can collect at any given time.”

St. Pierre notes that in order to maintain physical distancing and other safety measures in donor centres, Canadian Blood Services is only collecting 90 percent of their capacity for blood donations.

She says at this time, booking an appointment to donate blood is mandatory.

“We can only limit a certain amount of people in the room at a time, so, it’s very important. We are requesting everybody make their appointment to give us that opportunity to provide the donor with additional screening measures or information to make them aware of what’s going on when they come to our events.”

Since the pandemic began, Canadian Blood Services recorded a 20 percent year-over-year increase in first-time donors in the six weeks from mid-March to the end of April.

St. Pierre feels this is indicative of what we’ve seen across the district.

“In Parry Sound, we’ve been at the Knights of Columbus Hall attached to the church – so, there are many communities that really we haven’t missed a beat – as we’ve gone through the pandemic.”

St. Pierre says another clinic in Parry Sound will take place on Friday, June 26 at St. Peter’s Church from 2-7 p.m.

To book an appointment or for more information, you can head here.