As you are all aware that the NZ government has raised the COVID-19 alert level from 2 to 3 earlier yesterday and within 48 hours (25/03 – Wednesday midnight) the level will increase further to the highest level (Level 4). So, what does the highest-level mean? Well in simple terms, it means that the disease is not contained and there is a sustained level of transmission. During Level 4, we all must all self-isolate and eliminate contact between people completely by staying at home.
How long will be in the alert level 4 is still unknown. However, at this stage, the government has classified a 4 weeks period of lockdown. All business will be closed from this Wednesday except for essential services. Please be assured that we at eastMED Pharmacy will continue to be there for you at all COVID-19 alert levels.
Some of you may have already seen some changes being implemented when you were in the pharmacy. The purpose of these changes is to keep you and our staff safe. And we will endeavour to continue to do so as COVID-19 evolves. Let me take this opportunity to briefly explain to you all the changes that have already and are planned to occur within the next few days:
1) As of Monday morning, we have closed off the entrance next to the eastMED Doctors and signs were placed outside the grill to restrict access of certain patients from entering the pharmacy. Restricted individuals include people with symptoms such as a fever, cough, sneezing, sore throat or runny nose. Please also do not enter the pharmacy if you or someone you know travelled outside of NZ in the last 14 days or if you have been in close contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.
For anyone who has one of the above, we ask you to drop off your prescription in the drop off box and return to their car and call us immediately on 575-9208. We will process the prescription and arrange for it to be given to you.
2) As of last Monday, all pharmacy staff were instructed to wear a surgical face mask during working hours to minimise our exposure to the potential virus.
3) All staff will be wearing gloves when handling prescription from the “drop off box”. Only one designated staff will also be responsible for handling the prescription to minimise cross-contamination.
4) We have scheduled more frequent cleaning and disinfecting protocols in both the dispensary and the shop
5) All patients must sanitise their hands using the hand sanitiser provided at the entrance before entering and leaving the pharmacy.
6) We have limited the number of people in the pharmacy at one time to reduce close contact with everyone – a maximum of 1 person at one time.
7) We recommend people older than 70 years, and those with chronic conditions or immunocompromised to wait by the entrance for assistance. This is because patients in these groups are more susceptible to complications from COVID-19.
8) A minimum of 2 metres must be maintained between each other to minimise transmission.
9) We encourage patients to give us at least 24 hours to process non-urgent prescriptions during these challenging and busy times – please let us know if you are dropping off a non-urgent prescription.
10) We suggest you either wait for your prescriptions outside the pharmacy or in your car until your prescription is ready. This is to minimise your chance of exposure to the virus. If you leave your phone number on the prescription, we can text or call you when it’s ready.
11) We encourage people to call ahead for your prescriptions or ask for our delivery options if you can’t get out and about, (09) 575-9208. Please be patient if our phone lines are busy, your call is important to us. Alternatively, you could reach us via our website (www.eastmedpharmacy.co.nz) or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
12) Shop items must not be picked up without assistance from our staff. This is to reduce the chance of spreading the virus as it can remain on the surface for up to 72 hours.
13) We will be keeping you all up to date with the situation using our Facebook page. Please like our page and follow us – www.facebook.com/eastMEDpharmacy.
Last but not the least, we are working towards adopting a new working model of splitting our staff into 2 teams. The purpose of this is to reduce the chance of cross-contamination between staff. This means that there will be less staff working on each shift compared to before and we would really appreciate if you could help us prioritise by calling ahead for your prescriptions. We would greatly appreciate if you could give us at least 24 hours to process any “non-urgent” prescriptions or repeat prescriptions. We will be continuing our normal opening hours for the public (8:30 am to 6 pm Mon to Fri, 9 am to 12:30 pm on Sat and Sun Closed) but not ruling out the possibility of operating and serving you all under closed doors as the situation evolves.
Everyone at the pharmacy deeply cares about helping you and keeping you and your family safe. Please be assured that we will continue to be there for you. These are challenging times for all, be patient with us – we are trying our very best to take care of you as efficiently and safely as possible. Please be aware that waiting times may be slightly longer than usual due to an increase in workload.
Once again thank you for your patience and understanding.