2019 Novel Coronavirus
On Jan. 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the 2019 novel coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.
Canadian Blood Services continues to closely monitor clinical and scientific developments around the 2019 novel coronavirus. As of Jan. 30, 2020, the virus is known to have spread throughout mainland China and has been confirmed in over 20 other countries around the world. To date we have confirmation of cases in Canada too.
Canadian Blood Services remains dedicated to keeping the blood system safe, and we take this responsibility very seriously. While the behavior of this virus is not yet fully understood, it is important to note that no transfusion-transmitted cases of respiratory viruses, including coronaviruses and influenza-like viruses, have ever been reported.
Canadian Blood Services already has a waiting period of 21 days for donors who have traveled outside of Canada, the continental United States, and Europe. The incubation period for the novel coronavirus is covered by our 21-day travel-related waiting period. The risk of contracting a coronavirus through blood transfusion is extremely low, and our existing donor eligibility criteria and rigorous testing continue to safeguard Canada’s blood supply.
Although there have been very few cases of novel coronavirus in Canada, and there is no evidence of community transmission within Canada, we ask our donors to please contact Canadian Blood Services if they are investigated by public health for a suspected case of the 2019 novel coronavirus, or because of possible contact with a case of the coronavirus. As we would for flu symptoms or those of other illnesses, we ask employees and donors to stay at home if they are not feeling well. We encourage everyone to keep practicing usual precautions against the spread of respiratory infections such as proper hand washing and proper cough and sneezing etiquette.
We continue to work with our health partners, including Health Canada, Héma-Québec, and other blood operators to gather additional information. We will monitor the situation closely as it develops and adapt our actions accordingly.
For more information on the 2019 novel coronavirus, please consult the Public Health Agency of Canada.