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Michigan Gov. Whitmer signs order allowing pharmacists to dispense emergency refills of prescriptions

Heap of medical pills in white, blue and other colors. Pills in plastic package. Concept of healthcare and medicine.
Heap of medical pills in white, blue and other colors. Pills in plastic package. Concept of healthcare and medicine. (iStock)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-25. It will allow pharmacists to dispense emergency refills of prescriptions for up to 60 days’ worth of medication for patients and require insurers to cover the emergency refills amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The order will also allow pharmacists to dispense COVID-19 treatments according to government-approved protocols. The order takes effect immediately and ends on April 22.

“No Michigander should be worried about running out of critical medications during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why I signed this Executive Order authorizing pharmacists to refill up to 60 days of medication for their patients and easing restrictions on pharmacists so they can continue to help their patients during this crisis,” said Whitmer. “Residents who are limiting their time in public places and practicing social distancing shouldn’t have to fear running low on their prescription drugs during these trying times.”

The Executive Order only applies to non-controlled substances. Pharmacists will also have the discretion to substitute therapeutically equivalent medications without prescriber approval if there are critical shortages.

MORE: Here’s which Michigan counties have confirmed cases of coronavirus

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Click here for more guidelines from the CDC.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.


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