COVID-19 Guidance for the Public

April 14th, 2020

 

The COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly. The guidance provided on this page is intended to support the public during this pandemic with information and advice. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.

Page last updated on July 16, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. NDT.


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General information

This page is intended to be a source of patient-related pharmacy resources regarding COVID-19. Here you’ll find information on how to work with your pharmacy and pharmacist during this pandemic in order to continue protecting and best supporting your health.

Other helpful resources can be found on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador (GovNL) COVID-19 website, such as the latest on:

  • COVID-19 symptoms and what to do if you develop symptoms, including a self-assessment tool
  • How to protect yourself and effectively self-isolate
  • Resources to help people with concerns and questions about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lives and mental well-being

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Your pharmacy experience throughout COVID-19

Pharmacies provide an essential service and, as such, have continued operating throughout the pandemic. That being said, in order for pharmacies to continue to remain open, the public must follow the suggested physical distancing guidelines and help prevent the spread of COVID-19 within our communities and pharmacies.

Pharmacy professionals are fully committed to helping you during this unprecedented time and are taking the appropriate measures to ensure that you have access to the right information to make good decisions about your health as well as access to the medications you need.

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Staying safe at the pharmacy

To help ensure that you, your family, and your community continue to get the care you need from your pharmacy team, we all need to work together.

  • Call your pharmacy rather than visiting if you have questions for your pharmacist. Pharmacists can provide an assessment of your needs over the phone, but you may need to leave a message due to the high volume of calls that pharmacies are receiving. Be sure to allow ample time for the pharmacy to address your request.
  • If you need your medications refilled, contact the pharmacy a few days before your medication runs out. This will allow your pharmacy team to prepare your prescriptions in advance so that you spend a minimum amount of time at your pharmacy.
  • Ask about alternative options for obtaining your medication, such as delivery or curbside pick-up.
  • If you do need to visit the pharmacy, to help keep others – including pharmacy staff – safe, please complete the self-assessment tool BEFORE you go.
  • If you are feeling ill, are self-isolating, or screen positive after completing the self-assessment tool, DO NOT go to your pharmacy. Contact your pharmacy to discuss options for obtaining your medication, such as getting someone from outside your household to pick up your medication, arranging for delivery, or curbside pick-up (if available).
Many pharmacies will be screening patients for COVID-19 symptoms.

  • This could include active screening (such as at the front door, at the pharmacy counter, or over the phone) and/or passive screening (such as posting signage).
  • If you screen positive, and/or are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 before entering the pharmacy, you will likely be directed to not enter the pharmacy and be advised to call 811 and self-isolate immediately.
  • If you are already in the pharmacy and screen positive, you will likely be separated from other patients and staff, or advised to leave the pharmacy, while the pharmacy professional works with you to notify public health officials.

When you visit the pharmacy, respect the distance between you and other individuals at the pharmacy. Try to maintain two (2) meters between you and other individuals at all times. Most importantly, practice this at the pharmacy counter. Allow space between you and your pharmacy team members, and provide additional space so that a degree of confidentiality can be respected for patients in front of you when they are engaging with their pharmacy team member.

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High demand for pharmacy services

  • In the case that you are unable to attend an appointment with your prescriber, or are self-isolating, and require a refill of your medication, speak with your pharmacist as they may be able to assist with renewing your medication to ensure the continuity of your care.
  • Pharmacies will be doing what they can to manage their medication inventory throughout the pandemic, to help ensure to the best of their ability that patients continue to have access to medications and other critical health products. Patients can do their part by not requesting extensive quantities of medications or other critical health products such as diabetic supplies. This could result in limited access to these products for everyone later in the pandemic.
  • Please be understanding and have patience with your pharmacy team as they are doing their best to ensure safe and quality pharmacy care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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What do I do if my pharmacy temporarily closes or if I cannot access my pharmacy?

For various reasons, some pharmacies might need to close or shorten their hours during the COVID-19 pandemic. Don’t worry, your medication needs can still be met.

  • If your pharmacy’s hours change or if they have to close temporarily, signage will be posted on the pharmacy entrance to inform you about the change or closure, including information to assist you with accessing alternate care.
  • Reach out to another pharmacy accessible to you as they will likely be able to help. In NL, we are fortunate to have an electronic health record that includes medication information that assists with providing continuing care under these circumstances.
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    A different experience for now…

    We know that this time is hard for you and your family. Your pharmacy team is prepared and committed to support your health and medication needs. Your experience may be a little different during the pandemic but be assured that your pharmacy team is doing their best to meet your needs and the overall medication needs of your community.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate through this global crisis together.

    Follow @nlpharmacyboard on Facebook & Twitter for important messages regarding your pharmacy care.

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