Northern Pen : 2020-03-25

Opinion : 6 : 6

Opinion

6 WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 2020 THE NORTHERN PEN • SALTWIRE.COM We need to do whatever we can to make sure we do our part.” Hai said he plans to make his next donation this week. His public appeal echoes a statement from Canadian Blood Services on Monday. The organizati­on said it’s concerned by a recent spike in appointmen­t cancellati­ons because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The inventory is currently strong, but the recent increase in cancellati­ons is worrying, particular­ly in light of the blood shortages already being reported in other countries affected by COVID-19,” reads the statement from Canadian Blood Services. “Donating blood in Canada continues to be safe. Our robust cleaning and infection-control practices protect all donors, staff and volunteers. All prospectiv­e donors are also carefully screened for any symptoms of illness, including very mild ones. This screening occurs during both appointmen­t booking and upon arrival at the donor centre or event. Those with any symptoms are not allowed to donate blood and are instructed not to visit.” Dr. Isra Levy, Canadian Blood Services’ vice-president of medical affairs and innovation, said in the statement that donor centres are “islands of wellness within Canada’s health system. They are not places where sick people gather.” The organizati­on is urging healthy eligible donors to book and keep appointmen­ts, stressing that it adheres to the latest guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada, St. John’s ‘merb’y’ and Project Kindness founder Hasan Hai is encouragin­g people to continue donating blood to Canadian Blood Services despite COVID-19 concerns. “Regardless what happens with businesses, and schools shutting down, people are still getting sick,” Hai said. “People are hospitaliz­ed, and there are people who are actively going through treatment. So, as long as you can safely do so – if you’re not vulnerable to being outside – I would recommend you make the appointmen­t. “Canadian Blood Services is excellent at keeping clean, sterile facilities. I mean, it’s like a lab environmen­t. Go in, make your donation. The blood supply cannot be interrupte­d. including all recommenda­tions for public gatherings during COVID-19. “Should the agency’s recommenda­tions change we will act immediatel­y to keep donors safe.” Hai said he will continue donating because he knows the positive effect it has on people in the province. He said he became a regular donor after meeting a family whose child needed blood products while undergoing chemothera­py. “It’s actually going to a real human being in our community, and it’s literally saving lives,” he said. “I’ve since met many who are alive only because of blood donors, and blood product donors. It became so important to do. I recognized that I could take a couple of minutes, maybe an hour every couple of weeks, and donate. It was nothing to me, but it was literally saving lives.” Anyone interested in donating can make an appointmen­t using the GiveBlood app, by visiting blood.ca or by calling 1-888-2-DONATE. Walk-in appointmen­ts are also available at all locations. juanita.mercer@thetelegra­m.com @juanitamer­cer_ The NL Council put together an online package with links and informatio­n to give kids some ideas of things they can do. GRAND BANK, N.L. — With registrati­on for new members starting in midMay, the coming weeks are important ones for the Newfoundla­nd and Labrador Council of Scouts Canada. Youth programmin­g — including school itself, is taking a back seat as group gatherings are put on hold to hopefully prevent disease spread during the COVID19 pandemic. So, the NL Council is thinking outside the box. “The next month was going to be our key recruitmen­t month,” William Short, scouting relationsh­ip manager for the provincial organizati­on, told SaltWire Network on Wednesday, March 18. “We’re obviously trying to look for creative tools to engage people, and if in that process we can provide something to engage kids while they’re at home, all the better.” Short, who is from Marystown and lives in St. John’s, came up with "Scouting at Home" to hopefully do just that. The NL Council put together an online package with links and informatio­n to give kids some ideas of things they can do while they have more free time on their hands. A Scouting at Home NL event has also been created on Facebook where additional resources and challenges will be posted. “They’re all fairly educationa­l, interactiv­e activities, so even with two or three kids most of them are pretty engaging, and those are actually available for all of our age groups,” Short said. “The Trail Cards are definitely useful for anyone, whether you’re part of the program or not.” “We were hoping (the cancellati­on) would only be a few weeks, but looking at it now, it might be longer, so we want to be able to offer as much of the program as we can to the kids while they’re home and not actually able to go to meetings,” Short said. The Scouts have cancelled all group activities until at least April 5. While some of the informatio­n is specific to Scouts Canada programmin­g, like badge requiremen­ts, there are plenty of activities to appeal to everyone, he says, including the organizati­on’s Trail Cards, usually used in meetings to identify activities for the whole group. A link to the online package can be found in the Facebook event informatio­n. paul.herridge@southernga­zette.ca

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