Langley Advance Times reporter Ryan Uytdewilligen gave blood on Tuesday. (Ryan Uytdewilligen/Langley Advance Times)

Giving blood during the coronavirus pandemic

A first person account detailing a recent visit to Canadian Blood Services

Giving blood makes me woozy on a good day, so I was extra curious and extra pale when I went to donate last week amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

I wondered what exactly had changed because of the pandemic; could the nurses actually stay two metres away while jabbing me with a needle?

I was just starting to get comfortable with the regular procedures set in place, newly adapting to the fact you could fill out that nosy questionnaire from home to save some time.

Without a regular donor clinic in Langley, pop-up clinics make the process all the more adventurous and unpredictable – this time it was at Church in the Valley.

I showed up, Q-pass in hand, and was told to wait outside. There was a line, but we all managed to keep our distance and wait until our name was called one by one.

READ MORE: Aldergrove senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

Upon entry, I was given a face mask to wear and told not to take it off at any point.

At the check-in table, me and the nurse were separated by a Plexiglas shield where she asked a number of COVID related questions and then proceeded to take my temperature – relying on me to operate the thermometer.

Because I checked in online to obtain the Q-pass and was cleared to donate, I was whisked away to the waiting area. Thankfully, due to the spacious entryway of Church in the Valley, chairs were appropriately spaced two meters apart.

The donation process is more or less the same; there’s still the same unpleasant finger prick.

Beds are put further apart however, and nurses wear masks and gloves while taking extra precautions as they facilitate the process.

After blood is successfully taken, I waited a little longer in my chair – which is carefully sanitized after leaving; the elongated wait time is so people are conjugating around the snack table.

Cookies and juice are still up for grabs, but you are able to take your treat to go.

I can tell you first hand, the whole process took the same amount of time as it regularly would have – even with COVID precautions in place.

Staff and volunteers remain friendly and never once did I feel unsafe, exposed, or too close to another donor.

People can find out more on the donation process during COVID-19 at https://blood.ca/en/covid19 or book an appointment here.

The next donor clinics will be held at Church in the Valley (23589 Old Yale Rd) on Tuesday, May 26, Willoughby Christian Reformed Church (17475, 59th Ave.) on Saturday June 6, and Blacklock Fine Arts Elementary (5100, 206 St.) on Sunday, June. 21.

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Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

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