Background: Pharmacies are essential to the health of Kansas residents, as timely and accurate medication delivery is foundational to the treatment of acute and chronic diseases. To best provide care to patients, we must maintain the health of pharmacy staff so that pharmacies can continue operations. Please review this information and consider adopting these strategies in your pharmacies.
As patients look to pharmacy staff for guidance, please use calming and reassuring language. Your help to prevent panic and communicate accurate information is essential for our communities. Watch the CDC, Department of Health, and your County Public Health Page for accurate information, and resources.
Prevention: Pharmacies should implement strategies to prevent person to person transmission of infection. Frequent, effective hand washing, use of hand sanitizer and wiping frequently touched surfaces with an EPA approved biocide should be standard practice. Staff should strive to maintain a distance greater than 3 feet from patients, and greater than 6 feet for patients who are actively coughing. Staff should communicate the importance of ill patients staying home, sending a friend to the pharmacy instead, or using the drive-through when possible.
Exposure: If a patient sick with COVID-19 visited a pharmacy and talked with pharmacy staff, the exposure risk, as classified by the CDC, is generally considered low risk. With low-risk exposures, individuals should perform self-monitoring with delegated supervision until 14 days after the last potential exposure. Asymptomatic individuals in this category are not restricted from work. They should check their temperature twice daily and remain alert for respiratory symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, sore throat). They should ensure they do not have a fever and are asymptomatic before leaving home and reporting for work. If they do not have a fever or respiratory symptoms, they may report to work. If they develop fever (measured temperature > 100.0 oF or subjective fever) OR respiratory symptoms they should immediately self-isolate (separate themselves from others) and notify their local or state public health authority or healthcare facility promptly so that they can coordinate consultation and referral to a healthcare provider for further evaluation.
Planning: Pharmacies should begin to develop emergency plans based on the potential for absenteeism due to illness in their staff. This is an evolving situation that may eventually be worsened by drug shortages. We will continue to share information between state and local public health staff and our pharmacy community as it becomes available.