LOS Angeles County is expanding its “test to treat” program and is adding additional tele-health services to make COVID-19 treatments more accessible to residents in the region.
Two oral COVID-19 oral therapeutics (Paxlovid and Molnupiravir) are available in LA County, which have been found effective against Omicron subvariants BA.1 and BA.2., according to the LA County Department of Public Health. These therapeutics are for use in children and adults who weigh at least 88 pounds, test positive for COVID-19, have mild to moderate symptoms, and are at high risk for progressing to severe disease. These two therapeutics must be started within five days of a patient experiencing symptoms.
Residents currently have the option of accessing these medications by going to one of 58 Test to Treat sites in the county, one of the 26 DHS-Fulgent Testing sites, or one of three Public Health vaccination sites (Market Street Center in Santa Clarita, Obregon Park in East Los Angeles, and Ted Watkins Memorial Park in South Los Angeles).
The federal government “Test to Treat” program currently includes 20 CVS Minute Clinics and 11 Walgreens locations in L.A. County that allow patients to walk in to get tested, evaluated, and treated on the same visit at the same location. States and local jurisdictions have also been identifying other clinical sites that can offer similar services.
Residents can find current “Test to Treat” locations in LA County at: ph.lacounty.gov/covidmedicines.
Beginning this week, residents having difficulty accessing medications or a “Test to Treat” location have several additional options.
Individuals can contact our Public Health Call Center seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. at 833-540-0473. Call center staff will answer questions and connect patients to services as needed. Patients who are looking for testing or treatment will be referred to a site, and patients who already have a positive test result but are looking for access to evaluation and treatment will either be referred to a nearby Test to Treat center or connected to the Public Health telehealth services.
Telehealth services are available seven days a week to screen patients for eligibility and determine which medication, if any, would be appropriate for the patients. Medications are then shipped to the patient’s home overnight or the patient is referred to a nearby Test to Treat site to ensure timely access.
Public Health has also partnered with Healthvana and 26 Department of Health Services-Fulgent testing sites located in under-resourced communities hard-hit by the pandemic. This pilot project allows patients who test positive at one of these sites to receive a test result text from Healthvana, and if symptomatic, the text directs them to contact the Public Health Call Center to report their result. These patients will then be routed to a Public Health telehealth visit for screening.
Patients testing positive at one of the Public Health vaccination sites will also be routed for a telehealth visit with overnight shipment of medications.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to everyone mourning the loss of a loved one from COVID-19,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of public health. “As the more infectious BA.2 subvariant continues to spread across the County, eligible individuals can take advantage of two oral therapeutics. By expanding the number of sites and launching Public Health ‘Test to Treat’ Tele-health Services, more residents are able to quickly start treatment within five days of when symptoms first surface. These highly effective therapeutics can prevent serious illness or death, and for those County residents in underserved areas lacking convenient access to testing and pharmacies or clinics, a tele-health option makes access to these medications much easier. With the recent increases in cases, we are hopeful that as more residents learn about the new oral medications, they will not delay seeking care if they test positive. We thank our partners across the County working to bring these life-saving medications to residents.”
Public Health reported 1,088 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 2,839,480 cases to date. Meanwhile, 15 new COVID-related deaths were reported with 31,754 deaths to date.