The California Department of Public Health is sponsoring new “Test to Treat” sites across the state, including new locations in Santa Barbara County.
Test to Treat sites allow people to get tested for COVID-19, be seen by a provider, and receive a prescription for antiviral pills in one visit.
“The advantage of Test to Treat sites is that you don’t get a prescription and then have to go to a pharmacy, but they actually have the medicine on the site and you walk away with the medicine in your hands” , Santa Barbara County said. Public Health Officer Dr Henning Ansorg.
The antiviral drug used at the Santa Barbara County sites is Paxlovid, one tablet taken for five days twice a day.
“Paxlovid has been shown to be 90% effective in preventing hospitalizations and severe illness from COVID,” said Dr. Scott Robertson, president and CEO of Pacific Central Coast Health Centers.
Health officials say the treatment is plentiful and anyone 12 or older could be eligible for the treatment. However, those most at risk benefit the most
It is also important to note that there is no cost associated with testing or receiving medication at these sites, regardless of insurance status.
“No treatment is 100%, just like no vaccination is 100%, so the best thing is that you get vaccinated because your chances of getting COVID are much lower,” Dr Ansorg said.
Health officials say that if you go to a Test to Treat site, the whole process takes around an hour and it is very important to have a list ready of all the medications you are currently taking.
California is launching 146 Optum Serve Test to Treat sites across the state over the next two weeks. For a Test to Treat location map, visit this website.