COVID-19 Test to Treat program is making treatment accessible for everyone

KOLD News 5-5:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 5:26 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Pima County Health Department has launched its first COVID-19 Test to Treat program. This allows people who test positive for the virus to receive quick treatment at no cost.

This new program makes treatment for COVID-19 far more accessible to the people who need it.

“This really offers an opportunity for us to provide a health equity and justice mind frame to this. There are some patients who maybe don’t have the access to the healthcare services or insurance provider services,” said Andrew Rowe, division manager for clinical services at the county health departmen.

The new Test to Treat program came through a partnership with FEMA and is part of a nationwide federal initiative. It’s expected to run for about a month, but could be extended depending on the needs of the community.

“This is an opportunity for people to come in who have either tested positive at home or who maybe feel like they have COVID symptoms or whatnot. You can come in and get tested and then receive a prescription for treatment,” Rowe said.

People are eligible for the free oral antiviral treatment if they are 12 years or older, weigh at least 88 pounds, have mild to moderate symptoms, or are at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness. Paxlovid and Merck are both available by prescription and work best when started within five days of symptoms. Even though COVID cases are becoming less common, the virus still poses a danger.

“Right now we’re kind of in the moment of COVID being an endemic. It’s kind of just here at the moment. There is some increase but it’s difficult to tell. Right now we want to make sure there is an opportunity for people if they are positive for COVID to get the treatment that’s available,” he said.

The clinic is open for test to treat seven days a week. You can walk in or call ahead. You can find more details here.

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