New COVID-19 Test to Treat Option Now Available in Northern Michigan
The Health Department of Northwest Michigan has announced that a new federal Test to Treat COVID-19 program is now available through pharmacies, clinics and long-term care facilities throughout Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego Counties.
Michiganders who now test positive for COVID-19 at local sites can now be tested to determine if a prescription from a healthcare provider is appropriate for them. If so, a prescription for antiviral pills can be filled at the same location.
The antiviral medicines include Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s Lagevrio (molnupiravir), which are distributed on a weekly basis to states and territories by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Individuals can also bring results from a home testing kit to Test to Treat sites to be evaluated by a healthcare provider for treatment.
“The antiviral medication can help prevent severe illness and hospitalization when taken within five days of the first COVID-19 symptoms,” said Dr. Joshua Meyerson, Health Department of Northwest Michigan Medical Director. “All qualified healthcare providers can prescribe these therapeutics to patients who are at increased risk for developing severe COVID-19.”
“The Test to Treat program can simplify the process for people to protect themselves from serious illness from COVID-19 by easily locating available treatment,” said health department health officer Lisa Peacock. “This new tool is one more way for us to combat the spread and impact of COVID-19. Another valuable tool is for eligible residents to receive their second COVID-19 booster.”
The Test to Treat Program comes after the CDC updated their clinical considerations last Thursday regarding the option for individuals to receive a second COVID-19 vaccine booster.
The following are eligible for the additional booster dose at least four months after their first booster:
- People ages 50 years and older
- People ages 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised
- People ages 18 years and older who received Janssen COVID-19 vaccine as both a primary and a booster dose
However, the Health Department of Northwest Michigan says the following Michiganders might want to consider getting the second booster as soon as possible four months after they receive the first booster:
- People with underlying medical conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19 disease
- People living with someone who is immunocompromised, at increased risk for severe disease, or who cannot be vaccinated due to age or contraindication
- People at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19, such as through occupational, institutional, or other activities (e.g., travel or large gatherings)
- People who live or work in or near an area where the COVID-19 community level is medium or high or are traveling to such an area
The Health Department of Northwest Michigan also notes individuals who have had COVID-19 within the last three months or those who may be hesitant about getting another booster should wait to get their second booster.
To find out if you are eligible to get a booster vaccine, click here.