California Streamlines Access to COVID-19 Testing and Treatment
Source: California Department of Public Health
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and OptumServe are upgrading testing sites across the state to provide both testing and treatment for individuals who test positive and qualify for COVID-19 treatment. Test to Treat sites allow individuals to get tested, be seen by a provider, and receive a prescription for antiviral pills. This will improve access to COVID-19 treatments for uninsured Californians, especially in communities hardest hit by the pandemic, a foundation of California's SMARTER Plan.
California is launching 146 OptumServe Test to Treat sites throughout the state over the next couple of weeks. A Test to Treat locator map is available for Californians to easily see where they can access these services.
"We are working to ensure that Californians who have symptoms of COVID-19 have access to rapid testing and immediate treatment, regardless of insurance coverage," said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón. "Our goal is to help Californians recover if they get COVID-19 and ensure high-risk patients have access to treatments that can keep them out of the hospital."
California's expansion of Test to Treat sites aligns with the federal government's Test to Treat initiative in the National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Testing and treatment provided at OptumServe locations is designed for people without insurance. Sites will offer tele-health medical services and provide antiviral pills (Paxlovid or molnupiravir) or prescriptions to eligible patients. Services will be free of charge.
While COVID-19 vaccines and boosters remain the safest way to prevent the virus, COVID-19 treatments can lower risk of severe illness and hospitalization. They work best when taken soon after symptoms begin. If a person has symptoms, they should call or email their health care provider right away to ask about testing and if they qualify for COVID-19 treatments. If they don't have a health care provider or don't hear back from their provider, they can visit a Test to Treat location to get rapid testing and find out if they are eligible for treatments.
Communities may have other Test to Treat locations not included on the Test to Treat locator map. To learn about other locations, people are urged to contact their health care provider or local health department. Testing and treatment will be free of cost to all patients at OptumServe locations, but other treatment facilities may charge for the administration of an antiviral. Individuals should check with their insurance provider to see if their plan covers treatment.
Get Vaccinated or Boosted When Eligible
With COVID-19 cases increasing statewide, public health experts urge Californians to get vaccinated or boosted when they are eligible. Vaccination appointments can be made by visiting myturn.ca.gov or calling 1-833-422-4255. The consent of a parent or legal guardian may be needed for those under age 18 to receive a vaccination. Visit Vaccinate All 58 to learn more about the safe and effective vaccines available for all Californians age 5 and up.