COVID-19 casual contact alert

pharmacists in masks
Image courtesy Pharmacy Guild, Queensland branch.

Pharmacies have been added to watchlists in both Queensland and NSW, as authorities hope the lockdown could be lifted before Easter

Queensland Health has updated the list of locations visited by people infected with COVID-19.

Listed among the casual contacts is the Chempro Chemist at Tugun, between 1.55pm and 2.10pm on Friday, 26 March.

Some shopping centres containing pharmacies have also been listed, such as the entire Westfield Carindale Shopping Centre at Carindale, between 12pm and 2.16pm on Saturday, 20 March; the Strathpine Plaza Shopping Centre from 3.43pm to 3.49pm on Monday, 22 March; The Ridge Shopping Centre at Middle Ridge from 10.30am to 12.15pm on Friday, 26 March; and the Stockland Gladstone, from 4.46pm to 5pm on 26 March.

Anyone who has been to these locations at these times is asked to be tested immediately, and quarantine until they receive a negative result, including if they have no symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra hospital was put in lockdown late on Tuesday, with the nearby Mater Mothers’ Hospital sending home its staff due to growing concerns about the outbreak.

However according to the ABC, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Wednesday that it was “absolutely encouraging” that there had not been any unlinked community transmission in the south-east of the state.

“Fingers crossed all will be looking good for Easter,” she said, saying a decision whether to continue the lockdown would be made Thursday morning.

Across the border in northern NSW, the Byron Bay Central Pharmacy was added to the casual contacts watchlist, between 1.05pm and 1.10pm on Saturday, 27 March.

Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch Acting President, Chris Owen told the AJP that community pharmacies across Queensland have been reporting an increase in enquiries around COVID-19.

In particular, pharmacies are reporting an increase in mask sales, he said.

“Before the State Government’s announcement regarding all of Queenslanders’ requirement to wear masks, there were very high stock numbers of masks in community pharmacies across Queensland,” he said.

“Greater Brisbane’s community pharmacies are well placed to cope with this lockdown, as we did supporting patients during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

 “I know a significant number of Queensland community pharmacies are ready and waiting to play their part in the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out from phase 2A.

“With many community members enquiring about when they may be able to receive their COVID-19 vaccination, I encourage them to visit our website to learn when they may be eligible and receive the latest information.”

He said the Department of Health has confirmed that influenza vaccinations in community pharmacies are still continuing during the greater Brisbane lockdown.

“If community members haven’t already, now would be a good time to book their influenza vaccination to ensure protection before the peak flu season starts,” Mr Owen said. “Of course, if you’re unwell please stay at home.

“I’ve been amazed and encouraged by the stories I’ve heard regarding community pharmacies and their teams as they have risen to the challenge and surpassed all expectations with the level of service they have been providing their communities. 

“We’ve heard stories of pharmacists and their teams making batches of hand sanitiser and giving them away to businesses, of generosity in giving out grocery vouchers to families who are doing it tough and going the extra mile to source necessary medication for patients.

“Community pharmacists, pharmacy assistants and their teams are doing a fantastic job supporting Queenslanders.”

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