Coronavirus: Plea for people with symptoms not to visit pharmacies
A CO Antrim pharmacist has pleaded with people who have Covid-19-style symptoms to stay at home and not visit pharmacies in a bid to curtail the spread of the virus.
Patrick Kennedy, who owns Kennedy's Pharmacies in both Rasharkin and Dunloy, said his staff have been forced to lock the doors of his chemists and question every person before they are allowed to enter, due to the number of people presenting with coughs and fevers.
Mr Kennedy, who has been a pharmacist for 32 years, said daily life at his two sites had become unrecognisable since the arrival of coronavirus, revealing at one point, his staff were filling six times the usual volumes of prescriptions, with some having to work to 2am.
However he said he and his staff are concerned about the number of people turning up with Covid-19-style symptoms.
"The vast majority of people are very, very good," he said.
"The most dangerous people are those coming into the pharmacy with coughs and fevers.
"We have spent a good bit of time getting screens in place and we have our dispensary completely sealed off. We did try to keep the pharmacy open but now we are having to lock the door and question everyone before they come in.
"They are putting other patients at risk and the community as well. The other thing is they are putting staff at risk and down the line, we may be in a situation where we may have to reduce our hours or close".
Mr Kennedy said those with coughs and fevers have been "politely" asked to wait outside where a pharmacist will speak to them from a distance however he added that anyone with a cough "should not even be presenting on the streets, they should be in the house".
Mr Kennedy said many volunteers had signed up to help out those who should be isolated, including collecting and delivering prescriptions.
"Do not come to a pharmacy if you have a continuous cough or any other symptoms that could possibly be Covid-19," he said.
"We need to protect other people and protect our staff and make sure the pharmacy stays open to serve the whole community."