During the COVID-19 pandemic, community pharmacies continue to provide essential health services for local communities. This information is provided to help staff understand and manage concerns in the community pharmacy setting.
What we know
COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) most likely spreads from person to person through:
- close contact with an infectious person (including in the 24 hours before they had symptoms). A close contact is someone who spends at least 15 minutes in face-to-face contact or more than 2 hours in an enclosed room. Any other contact is deemed low risk.
- contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze
- touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs, sink taps and tables) that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
What you can do to minimise risk
You can take the following steps to minimise the risk of COVID-19 spread in your pharmacy:
- stay at home if you are unwell
- wash your hands often and well with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces regularly (such as door handles, benchtops and front counter areas, pens, Eftpos machines and waiting area seats)
- remove all magazines, books and toys from waiting areas
- avoid physical contact with others
- avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- keep 1.5 metres (two large steps) between customers
- place hand sanitiser on the counter and in waiting areas
- place a marker on the floor in front of a counter and advise customers to stand on it when speaking with staff
- advise all customers and staff to practice good hand hygiene, cough etiquette and physical distancing. Placing Department of Health posters and fact sheets in your pharmacy can help with this.
If you are well, you do not need to wear a facemask to protect yourself from COVID-19. Facemasks are generally for people who are suspected or known to have the virus and people in close contact (within a metre) of someone suspected or known to be infected. This is normally only healthcare workers and carers.