Ensuring continuous function of preventive and safeguarding measures during the COVID-19 pandemic is important. During the pandemic, our pharmacy staff minimize their risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 and reduce the risk for patients by using the principles of infection prevention and control and social distancing.
We implement universal use of face coverings Individuals without coronavirus symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.
We Make sure that pharmacy staff who have fever or symptoms that may be due to COVID-19 stay home and away from the workplace until they have recovered.
Although the actual process of preparing medications for dispensing is not a direct patient care activity, the other components of medication dispensing such as prescription intake, patient counseling, or patient education is conducted in ways that maintain social distancing and minimize the risk of exposure for pharmacy staff and patients. In addition to following workplace guidance, our pharmacy staff Provides hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol on counters for use by patients and have sufficient and easy access to soap and water or hand sanitizer for staff.Encourages all prescribers to submit prescription orders via telephone or electronically. The pharmacy has developed procedures to avoid handling paper prescriptions, in accordance with appropriate state laws, regulations, or executive orders. After a prescription has been prepared, the packaged medication is placed on a counter for the patient to retrieve, instead of being directly handed to the patient. Other strategies to limit direct contact with patients include: Avoid handling insurance or benefit cards. Instead, have the patient take a picture of the card for processing or read aloud the information that is needed (in a private location so other patients cannot hear). Avoid touching objects that have been handled by patients. If transfer of items must occur, pharmacy staff washes their hands afterwards with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. They always avoid touching their eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Encourage patients, especially those at increased risk of severe illness, to use alternate methods to pick-up medication. To decrease risk of exposure, patients who have an increased risk for severe illness due to COVID-19 may consider using: Home delivery of medications Curbside pickup Having someone else who is not at higher risk of severe illness pick up medications for them Strategies to minimize close contact between pharmacy staff and patients and between patients: engineering controls where the patient and pharmacy staff interact, such as at the pharmacy counter, to minimize close contact: Minimize physical contact with patients and between patients. Maintain social distancing (6 feet between individuals) for people entering the pharmacy as much as possible. Use signage/barriers and floor markers to instruct waiting patients to remain 6 feet back from the counter, from other patient interfaces, and from other patients and pharmacy staff. For hard non-porous surfaces, clean with detergent or soap and water if the surfaces are visibly dirty prior to disinfectant application. Frequently clean and disinfect all patient service counters and patient contact areas. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, and doorknobs. Use EPA’s Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2external iconexternal icon, the virus that causes COVID-19. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for concentration, application method, and contact time for all cleaning and disinfecting products. Clean and disinfect self-serve blood pressure units between customers. These devices should be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Routine cleaning with soap and water will decrease how much of the virus is on surfaces, which reduces the risk of exposure. Disinfection using EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19external icon can also help reduce the risk when used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. signage advising customers to wear masks during use and to wash their hands or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, both before and after using the blood pressure unit. Discontinue the use of magazines and other shared items in pharmacy waiting areas. Ensure that the waiting area is cleaned regularly. Promote the use of self-serve checkout registers and clean and disinfect them frequently. Encourage the use of and have hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes available at register locations for use by patients. administrative controls— such as protocols or changes to work practices, policies, or procedures — to keep staff and patients separated: Promote social distancing by diverting as many patients as possible to drive-through windows, curbside pick-up, or home delivery, where feasible. Large, outdoor signage asking pharmacy patients to use the drive-through window or call for curbside pick-up can be useful. Calling patients specifically asking them if they're sick and if so, to stay home and request home delivery or send a well family member or friend to pick up their medicine. Limit the number of patients in the pharmacy at any given time to prevent crowding at the pharmacy counter or checkout areas beyond what can be managed by 6 ft distancing.