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“Test to Treat” program offers easy access to COVID-19 treatment

May 13, 2022 | COVID-19 vaccine, Latest News, Public Health

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Oral antivirals and monoclonal antibodies became available in our community a few months ago. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t sure if we qualify or when to begin those treatments. Others simply don’t have a primary healthcare provider to ask. Test to Treat aims to remove those barriers.

After more than two years, we have been forced to learn how to safely co-exist with COVID-19.  One factor making a difference is the arrival of potentially life-saving treatments for high-risk patients testing positive for the virus.

Improved access.

Oral antivirals and monoclonal antibodies became available in our community a few months ago. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t sure if we qualify or when to begin those treatments. Others simply don’t have a primary healthcare provider to ask. Test to Treat aims to remove those barriers.

Luckily, the sooner you start your treatment, the better it works. As soon as you learn you have COVID-19, connect with your healthcare provider to discuss your options. If you do not have a provider, you can contact a test to treat location.

Test to Treat programs make it easier to get treatment if you need it. Through this program, people can get tested and – if they are positive and treatments are appropriate for them – receive a prescription from a health care provider, and have their prescription filled all at one location. These “One-Stop Test to Treat” sites are available at hundreds of locations nationwide, including pharmacy-based clinics, Health Resources Services Administration – supported federal​ly-qualified health centers (FQHCs), and long-term care facilities.

You can also continue being tested and treated by your own health care provider who can appropriately prescribe these oral antivirals at locations where the medicines are distributed.A medium sized, square with squiggles and squares. It is a QR code.

Test to Treat lo​c​ato​​r is available to help find participating sites. A call center is also available at 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) to get help in English, Spanish, and more than 150 other languages – 8:00 am to midnight ET, 7 days a week. The Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) is also available to specifically help people with disabilities access services. To get help, call 1-888-677-1199, Monday-Friday from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm ET or email DIAL@usaginganddisability.org.

In addition, Washington State Department of Health has partnered with Bird’s Eye Medical to make sure you can talk to a healthcare provider and quickly get treatment. Contact Bird’s Eye Medical at (360) 688-7044 or scan this QR code for a same- or next- day virtual appointment with healthcare providers who can prescribe and administer these medications at their Pasco office. They are located at 1600 N. 20th Ave Unit B Pasco, WA 99301. Please call the Pasco office if you can’t find us or need assistance! 509-416-2253. You can also scan QR code to be directed to their website.

Safe and effective.

There are two different kinds of treatment available, you and your healthcare provider will decide on the best treatment for you:

  • Antiviral medications Paxlovid and Molnupiravir.
  • Monoclonal antibodies Sotrovimab and Bebtelovimab.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized these treatments for emergency use. Early studies show they lower your chances of hospitalization and death. A healthcare provider
will help decide if you’re eligible.

To qualify, you must be:

  • 12 years or older.
  • Weigh at least 88 pounds.
  • At high risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Patients at highest risk of severe COVID-19:

  • Are 65 years or older.
  • Are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
  • Have a compromised immune system.
  • Have chronic health problems.

Digital picture assemble pills behind a bottle reading "Monoclonal Antibodies"If you are immune compromised or at high risk for COVID-19, check with your healthcare provider about precautions you should take and if a pre-exposure prophylaxis might be an option for you. There is one medication to prevent COVID-19: Evusheld and it’s available at Birdseye Medical. The medication is made up of two monoclonal antibodies, given as an injection in each hip muscle. It is for people aged 12 years or older, who weigh at least 88 pounds, and who are unable to be vaccinated or whose immune systems are weakened due to conditions like:

  • Cancer
  • Organ transplant
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency
  • Taking immunosuppressive medication

Continue healthy practices.

Staying up to date with vaccinations helps limit the spread of COVID-19 and lessens the severity of the illness if you get it. Prior infections can also offer some protection. But nothing is 100% effective. Everything our community has done is keeping our community on the right track, but we must continue to follow the best public health practices:

  • Get vaccinated and boosted
  • If you are sick, stay home.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms or have been exposed.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Masks are optional in most settings but remain useful in many situations.

–Article adapted from one by Tacoma-Pierce Health Department

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