An Over the Counter Perspective from Steve Hoyman
I am writing this article on 3/20/2020 to address some public concerns. Many things may have changed by the time it is published.
I am by no means an expert on Covid-19, but I deal with infections and viruses on a daily basis. The best advice I can provide is to “Wash your hands, Wash your hands, Wash your hands”. We have viruses around us all of the time. The influenza “flu” virus is around every year. The difference is that even though the flu virus may change, we have been exposed to related flu viruses in the past and this helps to limit the spread and severity of the flu virus. We also have yearly vaccinations for influenza. Covid-19 is different enough that really no one is resistant to it and there is no vaccine yet. I compare it to going to a basketball game. If someone walks into a gym full of people with influenza, many in the crowd have been vaccinated and/or had the virus already. This means that person may come into contact with many people before he/she is able to infect anyone. With this new Covid-19 virus, if someone walks into a gym, no one there has had the virus or been vaccinated against it, so whoever he/she comes in contact with may become infected. Those infected people then spread the virus to family members, co-workers, or to others as they visit different locations.
Am I concerned about the Covid-19 virus? Yes, of course, I am. I feel everyone should be concerned. Are we overreacting? I hope so. It would be great if we could look back on this in the months to come and say we overreacted. Do we need to be careful? Definitely. Do we need to stock up on toilet paper and act like crazy people? I do not believe so.
The Riviera Theatre is now closed. We closed it one day before the governor said we must. We did this for a couple reasons. The first being that Hollywood has closed for two months. No new movies are being released. Of course, our most important reason was to be forward thinking for the safety of our patrons and staff and to decrease any potential spread of COVID-19.
As of today, Hughes HealthMart Pharmacy remains open. We have decided that when Palo Alto County Hospital implements Level 4 restrictions, we will lock our front door, but we will remain open and continue to serve our customers via our drive-up window. Some businesses may remain open as long and they have a non-contagious worker, but then they may close. Pharmacies and other medical facilities cannot operate this way. If one of our workers becomes sick, we will send them home, but we need to continue to care for the public.
We are constantly cleaning our work areas and implementing all recommended precautions to stop the spread of this virus and protect both our patients and ourselves. We have patients in nursing homes who still need their medications filled, we have public customers who still need their medications filled, and we will receive new prescriptions for patients who become ill. We will remain open for you!
Finally, pharmacies have been dealing with medication shortages for a long time as hurricanes and other natural disasters occur around the world and disrupt the manufacturing or distribution supply chain. To deal with a medication shortage, we’re usually able to identify a different manufacturer, or work with your prescriber to identify a different medication in the same class, or utilize a medication from a different class that has a similar action in the body. With the restrictions on travel and the sudden increase in certain medications being prescribed, we are currently dealing with supply chain shortages. Please be reassured that we will continue to work with different manufacturers and a patient’s prescriber to take care of all of your health care needs. We are all in this together and appreciate your patience and ongoing support as we continue to care for you and about you.
Steven Hoyman, Pharm D
Hughes HealthMart Pharmacy