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Newfoundland pharmacy selling hand sanitizer made on-site as demand rises in wake of COVID-19 pandemic

The supply of hand sanitizer in Grand Falls-Windsor is getting low and one pharmacy is hoping to fill the void until the supply is back in order.

Central Pharmacy began making and selling bottles of its own hand sanitizer as fear around the spread of the COVID-19 virus hit the province earlier this week. The World Health Organization has declared the virus a pandemic.

“We’re making antiseptic hand sanitizer which has a healthcare application,” said owner and pharmacist Ken Dicks. “That is the lens we look at it from and if we can help intercept the vector transmission by providing some hand sanitizer, some advice, we will.”

This isn’t the first time Central Pharmacy has made its own sanitizer to offset public demand. During the H1N1 outbreak a decade ago, they did the same thing.

Central Pharmacy has no interest in competing with the big brands.

Instead, they’re hoping to fill a treatment void against the virus.

“If Purell and some other brand is not available, then there is a gap in care,” said Dicks. “That is where we’ll jump in. We’ll backfill the gap in care ... and use our skills to do that.”

On Thursday, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said by that afternoon there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province.

Fitzgerald also advised that people who have travelled out of province in the last 14 days to avoid hospitals, long-term care centres and retirement homes. She also cautioned people to give serious thought about travel.

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