THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 2020
STATE EPIDEMIOLOGIST ASSESSES THAT COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION OF COVID-19 IS OCCURRING IN COMMUNITIES ACROSS NORTH CAROLINA: RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PHARMACIES. State Epidemiologist Zack Moore has issued a bulletin assessing that community transmission of COVID-19 is now occurring in communities across North Carolina. Dr. Moore recommends that practices and healthcare facilities consider this latest assessment in implementing response plans to limit risks of person-to-person transmission.
Reducing Risks of Person-to-Person Transmission. Pharmacists and pharmacies are reminded that the Board’s March 17, 2020 expanded Emergency Services Waiver specifically authorizes the use of remote work technology by pharmacists and pharmacy personnel to mitigate this risk. The March 17 expanded Emergency Services waiver also states more generally:
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The Board strongly supports efforts by pharmacies and pharmacists to adjust work flows and processes within a pharmacy to reduce the risk of person-to-person coronavirus transmission. Such efforts might include, but are not limited to: not physically handling patient identifications at the point of dispensing; not requiring a physical signature for pick-up of a prescription; increasing use of prescription delivery service; limiting the number of patients physically entering a pharmacy; enforcing social distancing within a pharmacy. The Board does not have authority to waive or modify terms of federal law, state law other than the Pharmacy Practice Act, or a pharmacy’s contracts. However, any entity–public or private –that purports to require that work flows include activities that unnecessarily increase the risk of person-to-person coronavirus transmission (e.g., requiring physical handling of a patient identification or requiring a physical signature) is advised in the strongest possible terms to prioritize public health and safety above other considerations.
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Pharmacist-Administered Vaccines. State public health officials recommend:
Some immunizing pharmacists have inquired whether they may continue to administer vaccines if their provider-level CPR certification expires during the declared state of emergency. In order to preserve the public safety, health, and welfare, the Executive Director has exercised authority delegated to him in the Board’s Emergency Services waiver to waive enforcement of the requirement than an immunizing pharmacist “hold a current provider level cardiopulmonary resuscitation certification issued by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross, or an equivalent certification” (N.C.G.S. 90-85.3(i1)) for the duration of the declared state of emergency
The full text of the March 17, 2020 Expanded Emergency Services Waiver is found here: http://www.ncbop.org/PDF/NCBOPEmergencyServicesWaiverRemoteOperationsAddition031720.pdf
The Board’s baseline Emergency Services Waiver is found here: http://www.ncbop.org/PDF/NCBOPEmergencyServicesWaiver.pdf
North Carolina DHHS is constantly updating information here: https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-response-north-carolina