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Pharmacists front and center filling prescriptions amid COVID-19; advice on how community can help

Posted at 10:53 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 15:35:11-04

NORFOLK, Va. - The prescriptions at MacArthur Pharmacy are piling up for David Bass and his team.

“[The] majority of our customers are in the underserved communities. Those people don’t have transportation. They depend on us to get to them,” said Bass. He’s the pharmacist and owner of the pharmacy.

They're working around the clock to provide medicine to people who are sick.

“Especially here downtown - we play an important role because there are no other pharmacies down here,” he adds.

And they're doing so while putting themselves at risk every day.

“We are the normal place where people go when they are sick.”

Bass says he and the technicians on staff are there to help, but the foot traffic at the pharmacy is a concern, especially in a pandemic.

“One of the scary things is because it's allergy season. Everybody is coming in with a sniffle or cough not feeling good.”

Related: Coronavirus pandemic forces funeral directors on the front line

This pharmacy is doing several things to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. As customers walk up to the counter, they are asked to stand behind a taped line. The pharmacy also installed a glass shield to keep employees safe.

“I have all my people wearing masks. They sanitize whenever they handle money or credit cards or anything,” said Bass.

To help keep everyone safe, Bass suggests customers consider curbside and delivery options.

“We literally hold the health of thousands of people that get their prescriptions every month from us.”

You can also sign up for mail-in thru insurance. These are some of the different ways the community can step up to protect health care workers who are front and center of the outbreak.

News 3 reached out to the Virginia Pharmacists Association to see how pharmacists across the state are doing during this pandemic, and here's what they told us:

Just as a rise in COVID-19 cases is inevitable, it is also inevitable that pharmacists will be front and center during this public health emergency and global pandemic. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are essential members of the healthcare team and indispensable members of the frontline workforce. VPhA is proud of the pharmacists and technicians that serve on the frontlines every day as they continue aiding patients over their personal safety in this extremely challenging time. The safety of pharmacy personnel is a top priority for VPhA and our state stakeholder partners during the COVID-19 response. We understand the limited amount of PPE available and that due to the short supply the allocation has gone to the most critical areas. Pharmacies are using a number of tools to mitigate the risk of the spread- contactless delivery, telemedicine consultations, installing Plexiglas partitions, and implementing social distancing guidelines within stores. In prior emergencies and in normal times, pharmacies and pharmacists have shown they are here to help. They are here now in the face of this pandemic, five miles from 90 percent of Virginians. Pharmacies will continue to inspire confidence delivering care along with fellow healthcare heroes and first responders.
Christina Barrille, Executive Director of Virginia Pharmacists Association

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