Join us live on Thursday for Bell Let’s Talk Day:
Bell Let’s Talk Day reminds us that “talking is the best way to start breaking down the barriers associated with mental illness.” This is why, we hope you will join us on Thursday, Jan. 28 for one of three live discussions on mental health with our CEO, Dr. Graham Sher, vice-president of people, culture and performance, Andrew Pateman and licensed therapist, Yasmine Sikender. During the events, you will have an opportunity to share what is on your mind with respect to mental health at Canadian Blood Services and learn how to access the resources we have in place to help. To participate, click the meeting link in your Outlook invite (11 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. ET and/or 8 p.m. ET). If you can’t join us live, recordings will be made available on Connect.
The increased discussions on mental health this week, both at work and externally, may trigger emotional reactions for some. If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 911 or contact Crisis Services Canada by calling 1-833-456-4566 (available 24-7) or texting 45645 (available 4 p.m. to midnight ET).
70 per cent of employees who identify as having a disability say it’s related to mental health: The more we talk about our mental health, the more we can reduce the stigma and demystify the process of asking for support. This is particularly important at Canadian Blood Services in light of results from the recent diversity, equity and inclusion survey. The findings showed that nearly half of respondents identified as having a disability or accessibility need, and of those, 70 per cent said their disability was related to mental health. Support for your mental wellbeing is available. Learn more about the impacts of stress, anxiety and burnout, get the support you need and help us reduce the stigma by heading over to Connect.
Latest seroprevalence study results published: Canadian Blood Services has a research partnership with Canada’s COVID-19 Immunity Task Force to determine the prevalence of the antibody against COVID-19 in Canadians’ blood. The latest samples from the month of November were publicized Monday, and they show a seroprevalence rate of 1.51 per cent, with the greatest increases in Western Canada. The data are also showing that racialized donors are significantly more likely to have had COVID-19 than white donors. Our seroprevalence study will give policymakers a better understanding of the actual COVID-19 infection rate for different groups and regions in Canada. At this point, we have tested more than 140,000 samples and will continue to test as the pandemic progresses and the vaccine becomes more widely available. For more information on the latest results, visit the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force website.
Partner's medical scare inspires football coach to run donor drives: Braden Vankoughnett, head coach of a Canadian junior football team in Kamloops, B.C. is driving support for Canadian Blood Services after his partner, Kelsey Thorkelsson ― another top-level athlete ― became a patient in need herself. In September 2020, Kelsey was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia, a condition that affects bone marrow, drastically reducing its ability to produce blood cells. “Kelsey’s medical condition came out of nowhere,” says Braden. “She went from being a super active, super healthy top-level athlete in Canada one day, to needing platelets and blood transfusions every other day to survive.” Read about how Braden is using what he has learned during his support for Kelsey to mobilize his community and spread awareness about the need for potential stem cell and blood donors on blood.ca/stories.
Question of the day: There have been times employees have not been notified of a co-worker that has tested positive for COVID-19. Can you speak to why?
Although personal details of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 cannot be shared to protect their privacy, we are committed to being as transparent with employees as possible.
Following public health guidance, our integrated case management team initiates an investigation when a confirmed report of COVID-19 involving an employee, volunteer, donor or third party contractor is received and the date of symptom onset or date of testing is within 48 hours of that individual being in one of our environments.
If the risk of exposure is low, the case management team will notify the team who worked closely with the positive individual within the 48-hour timeframe for awareness, in the spirit of transparency.
Individual employees will only be contacted by Canadian Blood Services and/or pubic health should it be determined based on public health criteria their risk of exposure is high. In these instances, employees may be asked to seek further testing and/or isolate.
Positive cases involving donors and employees are updated weekly on the COVID-19 case management dashboard on Connect. You can also access information about how we manage positive cases of COVID-19 by visiting your COVID-19 employee portal (no login required).
A reminder that safety is our highest priority. Robust safety and wellness measures are in place at all Canadian Blood Services facilities across the country, including mandatory masks, enhanced cleaning, wellness checks and physical distancing to safeguard our teams, donors and operations.
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