Fast Access to COVID-19 Treatment in Washington
What to know about the Test to Treat program
Since the pandemic began, scientists have researched ways to fight COVID-19. The earliest breakthrough was the COVID-19 vaccine, our most effective tool for preventing severe COVID-19 illness. Yet despite the vaccine’s efficacy, breakthrough infections can still happen — especially as new variants like the Omicron sub-variant BA.2 spread.
Fortunately, scientists have also made breakthroughs in how we treat COVID-19. Those treatments are now more accessible to people in Washington thanks to a new program called Test to Treat.
While there’s a lot of talk about vaccines, the conversations around treatment aren’t as widespread. Yet knowing about your treatment options, and moving forward with treatment early, can be crucial for preventing severe illness and hospitalization.
What is Test to Treat?
Test to Treat is a national program that gives people a fast way to access free lifesaving treatment for COVID-19. Through this program, people are able to get tested and — if they are positive and treatments are appropriate for them — receive a prescription from a health care provider, and have their prescription filled all at one location.
Think of it as a one-stop-shop for treating COVID-19.
How does the program work?
There are three steps.
- Get tested for COVID-19 at a Test to Treat site or bring your test results from an at-home test, a pharmacy, or your health care provider with you to your visit.
- If you test positive, a health care provider will evaluate if you are eligible to receive treatment. This is determined by several factors — including age, access to other approved treatments, risk level and the current medications you take (be sure to bring a list of your current medications with you).
- Ask the on-site or affiliated pharmacist to fill the prescription. You’ll get your antiviral pill prescription filled on the spot and can begin treatment immediately.
Are there Test to Treat locations in Washington?
Yes! There are locations across Washington, with more opening. These sites range from pharmacies to urgent care facilities.
Use the Test to Treat locator to find a site near you and then book an appointment. You can also call 1–800–232–0233 to get help in English, Spanish and more than 150 other languages. This line is open seven days a week, from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. PT. The Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) is also available to help people with disabilities access services. To get help, call 1–888–677–1199, Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT or email DIAL@usaginganddisability.org.
What’s the urgency?
You must act fast for your treatment to be effective. The treatments available through Test to Treat — Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s Lagevrio (also known as molnupiravir) — are effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalization when taken within five days of the first COVID-19 symptoms.
Paxlovid was found to reduce risk of hospitalization or death by about 90% when taken within three to five days of symptom onset. A study on Lagevrio found that the treatment reduced the risk of progression of COVID-19 in non-hospitalized, unvaccinated patients at high risk of poor outcomes.
The advantage of a process like Test to Treat means that you can get access to treatment faster, which is crucial for fighting the illness.
Can I choose the treatment I get?
The health care provider will recommend the appropriate treatment for you.
Paxolvid is currently authorized by the FDA for people who are 12 years or older, 88 pounds or heavier, and are at high risk for developing severe COVID-19.
Lagevrio is currently authorized by the FDA for people who are 18 years or older who have mild or moderate COVID-19 and are more likely to become seriously ill.
Both treatments can interfere with other medications. That’s why it’s important to discuss your current medications with the on-site provider.
Side effects for both treatments are generally mild. Cough, headache, fever, the loss of taste or smell and muscle and body aches are among the more common side effects.
Are there other treatment options beyond Test to Treat?
Don’t feel discouraged if you are far from a Test to Treat site. Your health care provider can prescribe you an oral antiviral treatment if they determine you are eligible for one. You can then pick up your prescription wherever oral antivirals are being distributed.
What’s the cost?
There is no cost for participating in Test to Treat. Every element — testing, provider consultation and treatment — is cost-free to the patient. This includes people who don’t have health insurance.
Expanded access to treatments is crucial for protecting ourselves and loved ones from COVID-19.
To learn more about Test to Treat visit: aspr.hhs.gov/TestToTreat
To learn more about other treatment options in Washington visit: doh.wa.gov/emergencies/covid-19/therapeutics
This blog is accurate as of the date of posting. Information changes rapidly, so check the state’s COVID-19 website for the most up-to-date info at coronavirus.wa.gov. You can also sign up to be notified whenever we post new articles.
The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to everyone 5 and older. For more information about the vaccine, visit CovidVaccineWA.org and use the vaccine locator tool to find an appointment. The COVID-19 vaccine is provided at no cost to you.
WA Notify can alert you if you’ve been near another user who tested positive for COVID-19. Add WA Notify to your phone today: WANotify.org
Answers to your questions or concerns about COVID-19 in Washington State may be found at our website. You can also contact the Department of Health call center at 1–800–525–0127 and press # from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, and 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday — Sunday and observed state holidays. Language assistance is available.