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Moundsville Pharmacy Adapts To Meet Changing Demands

Photo by Alan Olson - A pharmacist meets with a customer at the COVID testing lot at Moundsville Pharmacy.

MOUNDSVILLE — With the needs of its community changing constantly, Moundsville Pharmacy has adjusted its business model and services many times in the past. Stepping up to become a hub of COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution is just another leg of the journey.

Owner and pharmacist Jason Turner said Thursday that one of the pharmacy’s primary missions has been to adapt to the needs of the community, whether that be making deliveries, operating on a drive-through only basis during the first phase of the pandemic, and now in its role administering vaccines and providing testing.

“We operated drive-through only from March 17 into July,” Turner said.

“We were drive-thru only for four months during the initial pandemic phase, but that was a big transition, … but that was something they needed. They needed us to be able to serve them in a safe way, that they felt comfortable, that had minimal contact.”

Since the COVID vaccine became available in December 2020, Turner said the pharmacy has administered more than 12,000 vaccinations up and down the Ohio Valley. Around the end of last summer, Turner said the pharmacy began looking to begin testing, which was not a service they had needed to provide before.

“The most recent adaptation we’ve made … is really in testing. We initially didn’t know if we had a role in testing, because the hospitals, Med Expresses, and rapid cares seemed to have testing under control, so we tried to stay in our lane and focus on vaccines,” Turner said.

“But in August and September, we noticed that testing and cases were increasing. We were actually being encouraged by some of these other organizations to get involved with testing,” he continued, adding that the pharmacy began a working partnership with Roxby Labs. “… In this partnership, we’ve been able to expand testing significantly, with not only individual testing for people who come to the pharmacy, but also in employer and community groups that have testing needs.”

Moundsville Pharmacy offers free COVID-19 testing from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 on Saturdays. While the Ohio County testing site saw record numbers – and blocks-long lines – at the OVMC testing site last week, Turner said the same day saw wait times under 30 minutes at their busiest.

“Monday had been our busiest day to date, and we provided over 200 tests, and I don’t believe anyone was here for more than 25 or 30 minutes,” he said. “We use a parking lot model, so once people pick up their forms at the drive-thru, they loop around, fill out paperwork on clipboards, and service them one by one. When times get busy, we’ll send out multiple testers to make sure people get taken care of in a timely manner.”

Adapting to the changing health needs of the community has been the name of the game since the 1980s, Turner said. The pharmacy’s first change was becoming a compounding pharmacy, mixing medications for specific patients. Then came an expansion of immunization services, and then packaging medications into strips for customers.

“I think services like compounding, delivery, immunizations, and medication packaging show that we’ve always had a posture of adapting to the needs of the community,” he said.

The staff at the pharmacy, Turner said, remain ready to think on their feet and adapt to a changing public health climate.

“Our staff has been outstanding. They’re hardworking, flexible, they’re willing to do whatever it takes to take care of the community and provide the services we commit to providing,” he said. “The staff’s been quick learners, they’ve been ready to get up and come to work every day, and do whatever it takes to meet the needs of the community.

“I’m really proud of our staff for how well they have adapted, and how many different types of services we’re offering the community,” Turner added. “I’m really proud of the community for accepting the vaccines, and testing as much as they have. Of course, as a locally owned business, we always appreciate their support.”

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