- Pharmacists are the first line of defence against the virus, but they’re often without protection when dealing with potentially infected patients.
- Business Insider spoke with two CVS pharmacists who described close encounters with patients who broke their quarantine orders for COVID-19.
- One pharmacist said they “wiped down everything [the patient] touched” but was unable to wipe down the seat the quarantined patient had used before someone else sat down in it.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The coronavirus pandemic is sending mobs of potentially sick customers to pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens.
But even though pharmacists are the first line of defence against the virus, they often deal with high risks of infection with little-to-no protection.
Business Insider spoke to two CVS pharmacists. The pharmacists spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing their jobs, but their identities were verified by Business Insider.
These pharmacists described close encounters with patients that were confirmed to have the coronavirus or had high probabilities of infection. Both said that at the time these incidents occurred, neither pharmacy was supplied with protective gear like masks or gloves.
A pharmacist who works in a CVS in the Hudson Valley in New York said that in early March, a patient who was under quarantine orders for COVID-19 came into their store.
The patient sat in the crowded waiting area near the line where other patients were waiting to pick up medication.
Once she was at the counter, she admitted to the pharmacist that she had just been released from the hospital and was supposed to be under quarantine. She said that she wasn’t able to drive herself and had someone drive her to the pharmacy.
“I wiped down everything she touched,” the Hudson Valley pharmacist said. “But by the time I thought about wiping down her seat in the waiting area, someone else had already sat in it.”
A CVS pharmacist in Virginia described several similar close encounters with potentially infected patients. Six patients who had just disembarked a cruise ship came into their pharmacy to get their temperatures checked. A person with a fever came in and admitted to the Virginia pharmacist that they lived with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19.
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