The state will deploy three test sites to treat

Minnesotans who test positive and are eligible could exit these sites with a prescription for the antiviral drug Paxlovid.

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. – Starting tomorrow, the Brooklyn Park Community COVID Testing Site will be a test-to-treat site, which means Minnesotans can enter, and if they test positive – and they are eligible – they will be able to get out of here with a prescription for the antiviral drug Paxlovid.

“This is actually the busiest site in our state during the pandemic for testing,” Gov. Tim Walz said Thursday.

Minnesota is one of four states hosting such sites nationwide. Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New York are the other three states.

“You will receive a rapid test, you will return to your car and wait 15 minutes, if you receive a positive test you will enter through the other door and will be met by providers who are there to be able to advise you and decide if it is is the right thing for you to get prescribed Paxlovid,” Walz added.

Walz said they are currently working with the pharmacy board to have Paxlovid waived from the location in the future.

Until then, eligible people will receive prescriptions which can be sent to Cub Foods or Target across the street, or to their favorite pharmacy.

“From the time you walk through the door to testing, your results, your consultation, your move to Target or Cub Foods could take less than an hour,” he said.

Paxlovid is a twice-daily regimen that lasts for five days. It is a mixture of two drugs, Ritonavir and Nirmatrelvir. It is currently approved by the FDA under Emergency Use Authorization and only certain people are eligible for prescription.

Many people who are medically vulnerable or considered high risk are eligible, as long as they are not taking medications that a doctor might deem to conflict with Paxlovid.

Walz said he was aware that other pharmacies and primary care physicians had testing capabilities to deal with. However, he highlighted the accessibility of a free community site. The increased accessibility will also reduce the time between a positive test and treatment, as experts have said Paxlovid works best when taken within five days of the onset of symptoms.

“Personal anecdotes I’ve heard from people I know who have taken it indicate that they feel better within 24 hours,” said Kandace Graunke, clinical operations manager for VAULT Health. “It’s pretty amazing.”

“It’s a place specifically for Minnesotans who don’t have time, who don’t have family doctors who can’t come in, they’re people who are professional to do that,” Walz said.

More test sites for processing are coming next week. Walz said we can expect to see them in Duluth and Moorhead.