Based on information available as of March 26th, 2020
WHAT IS COVID-19?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. They can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). Some transmit easily from person to person while others do not. COVID-19 is a new disease that has not been previously identified in humans.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Those with COVID-19 may have little to no symptoms. You may not know you have symptoms of COVID-19 because they are similar to a cold or flu. Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19, and may include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Pneumonia in both lungs
WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF GETTING COVID-19?
The public health risk associated with COVID-19 for Canada is high. Current evidence suggests person-to-person spread is efficient when there is close contact. It is recommended that you keep practicing good hygiene to limit the spread of the virus.
It is recommended by the Government of Canada to avoid any non-essential travels outside of Canada until further notice.
WHAT IS THE INCUBATION PERIOD OF COVID-19?
The incubation period is currently advised at 14 days—if patients need to cancel non-urgent appointments because they are positive or potentially positive, they cannot be rebooked until after a 14-day isolation period AND a physician’s note of clearance.
HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM GETTING COVID-19?
You can stay healthy and prevent the spread of infections by:
- washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
- avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands;
- avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
- coughing or sneezing into your sleeve and not your hands; and
- staying home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM WORRIED I HAVE COVID-19 OR HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO COVID-19?
If patients believe they have symptoms that resemble those outlined above, the following steps are recommended:
- Contact the Public Health Agency of Canada’s COVID-19 Information Service at 1-833-784-4397 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you reside in Québec, please call 1-877-644-4545.
- Do not visit your pharmacy. Practice self-isolation to protect the health and safety of those around you.
It’s important that if you suspect you have been exposed to COVID-19, to not visit your pharmacy. Call your pharmacist to review your situation over the phone and discuss the best way to receive your medication.
I’M PREGNANT DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS. AM I MORE AT RISK?
To date, pregnant women are not at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 compared to the general public. There is no evidence yet that COVID-19 can be passed to the baby during birth or if the mother is sick during her last trimester of pregnancy. The virus has not been found in breast milk either. If you are pregnant, make sure to follow Public Health’s directives.
A loved one can still accompany the mother when giving birth at the hospital.
Your pharmacist can still be a part of your pregnancy journey. He or she can offer advice on medication and vitamins, help you relieve pregnancy-related symptoms such as nausea or acid reflux, help you manage gestational diabetes, provide breastfeeding equipment and even deliver all the items you need in the comfort of your home.
ACCESS TO YOUR MEDICATION
Why is my medication only being renewed for 30 days?
Your pharmacist will only supply medication for 30 days, outside of exceptional situations, to ensure all patients have access to their medication.
What should I do in case of medication shortage?
Due to COVID-19, the demand for certain medication is increasing. If your medication is the object of a shortage, your pharmacist will do their best to ensure your treatment is not interrupted and that you remain taken care of.
Continue to take your medication as usual, keep track of your supply and leave yourself and your pharmacist extra time for additional refills. Call your pharmacist at least 24 hours in advance, if possible, to order your medication or to announce your intention to go pick it up.
Should I avoid taking Ibuprofen for my COVID-19 symptoms?
While the Government of Canada has been monitoring reports claiming Ibuprofen could worsen symptoms of COVID-19, there are no concrete scientific evidence that support this. The Government of Canada will continue to monitor the situation closely. Call and speak to your Pharmacist about whether or not Ibuprofen is appropriate for you.
I have a new prescription, but I can’t go to the pharmacy. What should I do?
Ask your doctor to provide your pharmacist your prescription by phone or fax. You can then discuss options with your pharmacy on how to receive your medications without coming in person.
Your pharmacy offers an array of services to help you get your medications at home or in a way that will minimize contact. These services may include:
- Delivery Services
- Curbside Pick-Up
- diem health mobile Application and Online Prescription Fills and Refills
Call your pharmacy to verify the availability of these services and arrange the details.
Can I have my prescriptions filled at another pharmacy for convenience?
Call the new pharmacy to explain the situation and ask about their delivery options. The new pharmacy of your choice will contact your current pharmacy to transfer your prescriptions.
Will PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) be available at my pharmacy?
These products, including facemasks, protective gloves and hand sanitizers are in high demand and may not be currently available at your pharmacy. Make sure you call your pharmacy before you leave, to avoid unnecessary trips.
SAFETY MEASURES IN OUR PHARMACY
If I don’t have any symptoms, can I still come to the pharmacy?
Whenever possible, avoid coming physically to the pharmacy. If you absolutely need to go, please call to verify store hours before you leave. Once in the store, make sure to keep at least 2 meters of distance between staff members and other customers, as well as following safety guidelines established by the pharmacy. Prioritize contactless methods of payment instead of cash.
- You are 65+ years old, or
- You have symptoms, or
- You have traveled abroad in the past 14 days, or
- You might have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19, or
- There is community transmission in your area,
Use our online or remote resources to access your medication or your pharmacist, such as delivery services, curbside pick-ups or mobile application. If you need to speak with your pharmacist, use the phone instead.
WHERE CAN I FIND THE MOST UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ABOUT COVID-19?
For the latest and most up-to-date information, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada's web page on COVID-19.
You can also follow Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, on Twitter at @CPHO_Canada.
Canadians travelling abroad are encouraged to consult the travel health notices on travel.gc.ca.