Donors keep blood bank flowing through lockdown

New Zealand Blood Service staff member Gian Daliva helps donor Greg Bramley to give blood in...
New Zealand Blood Service staff member Gian Daliva helps donor Greg Bramley to give blood in spite of the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown. Photo: NZ Blood Service
With a shelf life of just 35 days, blood donations remain in demand despite the Covid-19 alert level 4 lockdown.

Encouragingly near-capacity levels of people rolled up their sleeves for a blood drive in Wigram today, providing fresh supplies to the healthcare system.

New Zealand Blood Service team leader for donor relations Alison Keast said a constant supply remained important.

"There's still, unfortunately, people having accidents, people needing treatments, there are still operations going on," she said.

"There aren't any alternatives for patients that need blood or blood products, so blood donors do save lives."

Donating blood was classed as an essential service under Covid-19 restrictions, but blood drives at locations such as schools had not gone ahead, and organising venues was challenging.

This week the Airforce Museum of New Zealand in Wigram provided a base, and the organisation would be back there next week to welcome more donors.

The donor centre at Lester Lane, Addington was also open at reduced capacity.

"It can be difficult if we're not where we're usually are but the donors are mostly coming on board and doing what needs to be done, which we're very grateful for," said Keast, who encouraged more people to get involved.

Donor capacity at the museum was 90 people per day; 82 donated yesterday - including 10 first-time donors while 84 lined up today.

They had to answer screening questions about health, travel and possible exposure to Covid-19 before giving blood.

Donor beds were kept two metres apart in compliance with the Ministry of Health guidelines, and a cleaner was on-site throughout the process.

To book a donation appointment with the New Zealand Blood Service, call 0800 GIVE BLOOD (0800 448 325)

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