Pharmacy 4 Less store closed for COVID-19 cleaning

shop closed sign

A pharmacy south-west of Sydney has had a staff member test positive for COVID-19

The COVID-19 problem in NSW continues to grow, with 13 new cases diagnosed in the 24 hours until 8pm on Monday night. This brings the total number of cases in NSW to 3,316 to date.

NSW Health advised on Tuesday that 10 of the new cases reported are associated with the Crossroads Hotel in south-western Sydney, around 50km away from the affected pharmacy.

Pharmacy 4 Less Tahmoor announced on social media on Monday that on Sunday, it had been advised that a team member had tested positive to the novel coronavirus.

The employee had been in contact with a positive case on Friday 10 July. She worked at the pharmacy on Sunday, 12 July from 9am until 11am, after which point she developed symptoms and was tested for COVID-19.

She returned a positive result at 9am on Monday morning and is now in quarantine.

Pharmacy 4 Less advised that the employee was believed to have been contagious while working at the store on Sunday, and asked patients who believed that they had been in close contact for longer than 15 minutes to contact the COVID-19 hotline or speak to their GP.

“Immediately we took action as per our standard policy for this type of event,” the pharmacy wrote.

“We ceased trading the pharmacy and sent all our staff for testing for COVID-19.

“The pharmacy has been professionally cleaned using the appropriate COVID-19 cleaning protocols after a positive case.

“Results of the testing of our staff will take 24-72 hours and none of these people will return to work until we have their results.

“Any individuals that test positive will follow the guidelines of quarantine as recommended by NSW Health, all others who test negative will then be able to return to work.

“No one will be allowed to continue back at work until we receive their COVID-19 test results and they are clear to work again and serve our customers.

“We are currently recruiting alternative people who have not been exposed to the employee who tested positive yesterday to reopen the pharmacy tomorrow for sales of urgent need. Such a (sic) prescriptions and medication needs.”

Pharmacy 4 Less Tahmoor then directed patients to the nearest alternative pharmacy, Priceline Pharmacy Tahmoor, 1km away.

It also advised the Priceline about its situation.

“This highlights the risk that our staff and community pharmacy face everyday during this COVID-19 crisis and we take the opportunity to thank the people in our pharmacies for their service to the Australian people at a time when it takes courage and dedication to serve the communities healthcare needs,” the pharmacy wrote.

“Thank you for understanding during this difficult time, we appreciate your patients (sic) while we desterilise the store and prepare for reopening in the coming days.”

David Heffernan, president of the Pharmacy Guild’s NSW branch, said that the pharmacy’s swift reaction to the staff member’s positive test was exemplary.

“We encourage all pharmacies to follow the NSW Health action plan for your business, and that’s where I commend the pharmacy in Tahmoor, for following that procedure,” he told AJP.

“They immediately shut the pharmacy, they have had the cleaners come in to sterilise the place at their cost, they have shut the business, they’re transferring calls for patients and are facilitating services to a Priceline pharmacy down the road.

“And they are not opening up until they have sufficient staff who come back with a negative result and/or have a supplementary team to open up the pharmacy and continue trading.

“It does come as an imposition to the business owner, but this is where I continue to implore the public to maintain social distancing according to the directions from NSW Health.”

Mr Heffernan said the Guild is in regular contact with NSW Health about the COVID-19 pandemic, discussing “everything from assisting people with crossing the Victorian border to be able to get to a pharmacy, to PPE equipment and other assistance.”

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