An update on the situation at Concourse Gate:
Yesterday, you received an email from our CEO with an update on the Concourse Gate production and distribution facility in Ottawa. Following the notification of five confirmed cases of COVID-19 involving employees and contractors at the site, a decision was made to move forward with a temporary, controlled shut down of fresh blood operations at the Concourse Gate production and distribution facility. Stem cell operations at the site will continue only to meet the needs of a small number of patients who are in the middle of their treatment and whose lives depend on specific products from this site.
With the exception of platelet collections that will continue, we are also postponing all collections events in Ottawa and Kingston (including affected mobiles) effective today until Concourse Gate is reopened. Due to the strength of our current whole blood inventory, we are confident in our ability to reduce collections while meeting hospital demands and without introducing unmanageable risk to our operations during the closure.
Some of the specific details of the controlled shut down are still being worked through. We are confident that the work we have invested in our business continuity plans and capabilities will enable us to continue to deliver lifesaving products and services to those in need. We are also confident in the robust safety measures in place to limit the risk of transmission to others. To learn more, please read the following note to employees from Dr. Graham Sher.
Reminder to submit your office equipment expenses: If you work remotely and have been waiting to take advantage of the $200 reimbursement for home office equipment, please note that the deadline to submit expenses is March 31, 2021. You can use the money to buy home office equipment such as desks, chairs, monitors and headsets that will help you work from home more effectively and safely. After March 31, requests for reimbursement will have to be processed through your departmental budget. You can read more about the reimbursement on Connect or on our Flexible and Virtual Work Guidelines page.
Canadian Blood Services named a top employer in National Capital Region: Canadian Blood Services has been selected as one of the National Capital Region’s top employers. The designation, part of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers competition, was awarded to our organization in part because of the wealth of wellness resources available to employees, the extended health benefits plan for eligible retirees, defined benefit and contribution pension plans, and the Living Our Values peer recognition program. “I am extremely pleased that we received this recognition,” says Andrew Pateman, vice-president of people, culture and performance. “It is a testimony to the hard work done by so many employees who live our ICARE values and fulfill our mission of being Canada’s Biological Lifeline.” Learn more on Connect.
Meet the Stem Cell Club: Even through the pandemic, some incredible volunteers at universities across the country are continuing to help save lives by recruiting potential stem cell donors to Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry. The volunteers are members of Stem Cell Club, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2021. The club, which has received support through our Centre for Innovation’s BloodTechNet Award Program, began as an effort to standardize recruitment drives at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Since then, however, it has grown to include 27 teams at universities across the country, all under the leadership of director Dr. Warren Fingrut. Learn more about the club’s impressive efforts to recruit diverse donors at blood.ca/stories.
Question of the day: As an extroverted event coordinator, I am having a really hard time dealing with the lack of face-to-face interactions on a day-to-day basis. The video calls with my team do help and we try to keep our cameras on whenever we meet. However, feelings of isolation and loneliness are impacting me and my sleeping and eating cycles. Any suggestions on what I could try?
Current restrictions mean that many folks are feeling lonely and isolated. If you are required to stay home due to public health regulations, licensed therapist and counsellor with our virtual drop-in therapy program, Yasmine Sikender, has some tips that may help:
Keep to a schedule: Trying to make these days feel as "normal" as possible will help you to get through.
Stay in touch: You can still get together with friends and family online or on your phone. Send emails and texts, get in touch on social media, or pick up the phone and say hi.
Take a break from the news: The 24-hour news cycle can make anxiety spike. Give yourself a limit.
Try something new: Take advantage of the slower pace and free time. Expressing yourself through creative means can be therapeutic.
Get outside: Spending time in nature and exercising releases feel-good chemicals in your brain to boost your mood, plus it’s a great way to see other people safely!
Help others: It might seem counterintuitive, but if you are struggling yourself, sometimes offering help to others can make you feel less lonely.
For more information about how to manage your wellbeing during these challenging times, check-out our interview with Yasmine on Connect.
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