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 all in one visit.
“The advantage of Test to Treat sites is that you do not get a prescription and then have to go to a pharmacy, but they actually have the medication at the site and you walk away with the medicine in your hands," said Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg.
The antiviral medication being used at the Santa Barbara County sites is Paxlovid, a tablet taken for five days twice a day.
“Paxlovid has shown to be 90% effective at preventing hospitalizations and severe illness with COVID," said Dr. Scott Robertson, president and CEO of Pacific Central Coast Health Centers.
Health officials say there is an abundance of the treatment and anyone 12 years or older could qualify for this treatment. However, those at higher risk benefit the most
It is also important to note there is no cost involved in testing nor in receiving the medication at these sites regardless of insurance status.
“No treatment is 100% just like no vaccination is 100%, so the best is that you get vaccinated because your chances of getting COVID are much much lower," said Dr. Ansorg.
Health officials say if you come to a Test to Treat site, the whole process takes about an hour and it is very important to have a list ready of all the medications you currently take.
California is launching 146 Optum Serve Test to Treat sites throughout the state over the next couple of weeks. For a Test to Treat locator map, visit this website.