Chatham blood donor clinic going ahead during COVID-19 pandemic

Donors give blood at a clinic at St. Joseph's Parish in Chatham. November 12, 2018. (Photo by Greg Higgins)

A blood donor clinic is still set to take place in Chatham on Saturday, but it will be at a new location and by appointment only.

Canadian Blood Services was originally scheduled to hold its March 28 donor clinic at the St. Clair College Healthplex, but that building has been closed amid COVID-19 concerns, so Saturday’s clinic will now be held at the Portuguese Club at 346 Grand Ave. E in Chatham from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Marisa Gatfield with the Canadian Blood Services’ Donor Relations department said anyone interested in donating should also go through a series of pre-screening questions on blood.ca to make sure they are OK to come in.

“If you are feeling unwell — a fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, tiredness, cough, sore throat, vomiting and/or diarrhea, we’re asking people to seek medical attention and do not attend the blood donor clinic,” said Gatfield. “It’s essentially a place where healthy people are only eligible to donate.”

Gatfield said they are only accepting scheduled appointments in order to help minimize the number of people at the donor centres.

Since Canadian Blood Services put out a specific call for donations on March 16, there has been a noticeable increase in appointments, but Gatfield is also reminding the public that they will continue to need support from donors.

“This is not a sprint, this is a marathon,” said Gatfield. “We need people to book their appointments in the upcoming days, weeks, and months ahead.”

Gatfield is encouraging anyone who is healthy and has not travelled outside of the country to check their eligibility on the website and book an appointment.

You can also call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) for more information or to book a time to donate blood.