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 May 4, 2020, at 9:25 a.m. NDT.


Please click the link below to bring you to the appropriate section:


 

Your pharmacy experience throughout COVID-19

This is your go-to source of information for patient related pharmacy resources regarding COVID-19. Here you’ll find information on how to work with your pharmacy and pharmacist–during this pandemic–to continue protecting and 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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Since the beginning

Since the first reported presumptive case of COVID-19 in NL on March 14, 2020, NLPB has been in contact with, and will continue to engage, the Ministry of Health, public health officials and our pharmacy sector partners to support patients and pharmacy professionals during this challenging time.

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Your pharmacy team

Your pharmacy team provides an essential service, and so is permitted by GovNL to continue operating under the Special Measures Order pursuant to S. 28 of the Public Health Protection and Promotion Act. See below for a full list of what businesses are open or closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. That being said, pharmacies are open presently and in order for pharmacies 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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High demand for pharmacy services

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

There are a number of important things to know about your experience at the pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • To help keep others safe–that includes pharmacy staff–please complete the self-assessment tool BEFORE visiting a pharmacy.
  • 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). Ask what options are available.
  • Many pharmacies will be screening patients for COVID-19 symptoms. See the box below for what this might involve:
  • This could include active screening (such as at the front door, at the pharmacy counter, or over the phone) and 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.
  • 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.
  • Contact your pharmacy before you visit if you have questions for your pharmacist or require medications to be refilled. 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. It is wise to 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.
  • If you must go to your 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.
  • Do not stockpile medications.
  • As of May 4, 2020, due to a nationwide effort to protect the drug supply since mid-March, medication inventories appear to be stabilizing and returning to pre-pandemic quantities.

    After collaboration with the Pharmacists’ Association of Newfoundland & Labrador and other healthcare partners, we have decided to ease away from the 30-day supply recommendation over the next two weeks. This time period is intended to give pharmacists the support and flexibility they need to adjust to the situation.

    What this means for patients?

    • Once your current supply of medications is due to be renewed contact your pharmacy to arrange for your refill. If you are sick or require alternative medication pick-up or delivery options please advise your pharmacy team.
    • To avoid an unnecessary inventory demand, do not request your medication refill until it is due– this will enable your pharmacy team to continue to protect the drug supply.
    • Your pharmacist will use their professional judgement–as they always have–to determine whether there is adequate supply of your medication to dispense in a longer days’ supply. Some specific drugs may still experience shortages necessitating pharmacy professionals to dispense a limited amount.
    • 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.

    See a copy of the official statement here: 30-Day Medication Supply Update

    Pharmacy professionals are encouraged to use their professional judgment to work with you to ensure that you have access to the medications you need, without putting other patients’ health at risk.

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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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