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A Look At The COVID-19 Crisis From A Pharmacist's Perspective


We've been hearing from health care workers of all kinds as they battle the coronavirus outbreak. Now a pharmacist, Twila Boyd - she owns the Charleston Pharmacy in South Charleston, Ohio, a town of about a thousand people. She joins us from her home now. Thanks very much for being with us.

TWILA BOYD: Well, thank you. I appreciate it.

SIMON: How have your days changed? - a whole lot busier?

BOYD: (Laughter) On Monday, we saw a 50% spike in our pharmacy volume. And it's continued the rest of this week - people trying to get their medications early or trying to get multiple months filled of their medications. So yes, it's been very interesting.

SIMON: Can you help them?

BOYD: Yes, we can. What we're trying to tell people - that if they just normally get a 30-day supply of their medication, it's best if they continue with that pattern. If you have people stockpiling, then that doesn't leave as much or anything left for the other ones later on. So it's like the grocery stores. But right now, we have medications. And we're doing fine. We're able to get things in. It may take us a couple of days to get something that we need. But we are able to get it in.

SIMON: People working for you - overextended, extra hours, extra stress?

BOYD: I think this is a very stressful time because a lot of their friends maybe are working from home, and they're feeling the stress of dealing with the population where somebody might be a carrier that doesn't have any symptoms. But right now, they're doing very well. There's a lot of cookies and cupcakes that are being brought in. And the people that come in are bringing - some of them will bring health cleaning supplies. So that's nice.

SIMON: Do you have any masks?

BOYD: No, we do not have any masks. We do have gloves. I do have a delivery driver that goes out every day Monday through Friday. And he does wear gloves. And he has a mask. So he can wear those no problem because he is dealing with the elderly. He's dealing with children or, you know, families. So he is trying to have minimal contact with them.

SIMON: Do you get new protocols all the time?

BOYD: Every day - yes, we do. The one that is really good is that we do not have to have everybody sign with either the pen pad with the pen or their finger. So we don't have people touching the machine constantly or one right after the other. Then other things - it's telling us that if you have the elderly, pregnant or somebody that is sick, if they come into the pharmacy, they would be waited on immediately. And then they would be ushered out of the pharmacy once they get their medication. So we don't really have anybody that sits in the pharmacy and waits for their medication. Most of the people just drop their prescriptions off and are leaving the pharmacy. So that is also good.

SIMON: Well, I guess we should note that Charleston Pharmacy - South Charleston, Ohio - is open for business.

BOYD: Yes, it is (laughter). Yes, it is. We are open. And it's always nice that - if you have a pharmacy - that you are familiar with the pharmacist, that if you have questions, you can call them, or you can talk to them. At this point, they're really very busy. And most of them are understaffed.

SIMON: Yeah.

BOYD: But during regular periods of time, if you have questions, you could always talk to the pharmacist because we are a wealth of knowledge. And we can certainly help you. Since we're usually the first ones - if someone is feeling sick...

SIMON: Yeah.

BOYD: ...They usually go to the pharmacy first. So if you think you might have it, we could help you with deciding whether you do have either the COVID-19, the flu or they just have a cold or if it's just allergy season. So we do see a lot of people coming in with runny noses right now.

SIMON: Twila Boyd owns and operates the Charleston Pharmacy - South Charleston, Ohio. Thanks very much. Good luck to you.

BOYD: Thank you very much.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Corrected: March 21, 2020 at 12:00 AM EDT
A previous introduction on this file incorrectly referred to South Charleston, Ohio, as South Charlottesville, Ohio.
Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.
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