Three pharmacies have been visited by a COVID-19 case in recent days, as poll results show more than half of pharmacies are doing major cleaning every day to reduce risk
NSW Health has alerted the public to a new case of COVID-19 visited the Chemist Warehouse on the corner of Bridge and Rawson Streets in Epping, NSW on 6 October, between 10.30am and 11.00am.
“Anyone who attended the [venue] is considered a casual contact and must monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they develop. After testing, they must remain in isolation until a negative test result is received,” said NSW Health.
Two further pharmacies have been listed as “high risk locations” by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.
A COVID-19 case visited Priceline Pharmacy Southland Bayside in Cheltenham, Victoria on 5 October between 12.50pm and 1.05pm to have a prescription filled.
Meanwhile another Victorian COVID-19 case visited the Chemist Warehouse Forest Hill on 5 October between 11.30am and 11.50am, also to get a prescription filled.
Victorian DHHS advice is that anyone who visited any of these locations during the date indicated should watch for COVID-19 symptoms for the next 14 days.
“If symptoms occur, immediately get tested and stay at home while you wait for your results,” said the Victorian DHHS.
AJP recently spoke with owner Caroline Diamantis whose Sydney pharmacy was visited by a COVID-19 case that was considered a casual contact.
“It’s already been an extremely difficult and exhausting period, and then in the back of your mind you’re constantly thinking, let’s keep the staff safe, let’s keep the customers safe,” she said.
“And then your worst fear is realised when you get the phone call and you think, well now I’ve got to find the best way to deal with it.”
Ms Diamantis cautioned all pharmacies to have a COVID safety plan in place.
“You have to be serious about your COVID safety plan. They will quiz you on what you’ve done,” she said.
AJP recently polled readers about what measures formed part of their pharmacy’s COVID safety plan.
According to the 317 respondents at the time of writing, the majority of their pharmacy workplaces (88%) have marks on ground to encourage social distancing, and 82% have signage at entrance redirecting symptomatic patients before they enter.
A further 81% have a sanitising station at entry, 77% have signage/posters around the pharmacy encouraging hand hygiene and cough etiquette, and 69% have limits on number of people allowed to enter pharmacy.
More than half (64%) of respondents said their pharmacy was doing major cleaning every day, including sanitising all public and shared spaces.
However just 27% of respondents reported that their pharmacies were limiting customer time in store to 10 minutes or under – a factor Ms Diamantis said was crucial to ensure that any COVID-19 cases would only be considered a casual contact, thereby minimising impact to the pharmacy’s staff and customers.
See the full poll and results here.