COVID-19 Treatments

 

The COVID-19 vaccine offers the best defense against the virus that causes COVID-19. In addition to the vaccine, other treatment options may help if you get sick with COVID-19.

 

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Looking for information on Test to Treat? Test to Treat sites offer rapid testing for COVID-19, a medical consultation as appropriate, and Paxlovid anti-viral pills, if indicated. For SLO County locations and other details, please visit: https://slopublichealth.org/testing

Looking for free telehealth appointments for COVID-19 treatment? Learn more about free telehealth appointments for those without insurance or those who can't connect with their health care provider within 24 hours of symptom start.

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When to seek support while recovering from COVID-19

The right course of action for someone with COVID-19 varies by person:

Many people can treat mild symptoms of COVID-19 at home without prescription medication by resting and drinking plenty of fluids. You can take over-the-counter medications (like Tylenol or Ibuprofen) as directed on the bottle to provide relief from fever and pain. See guidance from the CDC for at-home treatment of COVID-19

If you test positive for COVID-19 and are at increased risk for severe illness, contact your doctor to discuss treatment options, even if your symptoms are mild right now. Don’t delay: Treatment must be started within the first few days to be effective.

If you start to experience emergency symptoms, get care immediately by calling 911 or going to the emergency room. Tell the 911 dispatcher or ER staff that you have COVID-19.

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Types of treatments available

Two main types of medication are available for outpatient treatment of COVID-19 in SLO County:

Antiviral pills are available by prescription at local pharmacies and have been shown to lower the risk of hospitalization and death in people who are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness. They are most effective when taken in the first five days of illness—the sooner, the better.

There are also antiviral medications given via infusions for people sick with COVID-19 in the hospital.

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight viruses. These therapies are given by IV or injection in a hospital or clinic. Currently, there are no monoclonal antibodies authorized for use in the U.S. as treatment for COVID-19 because they are not effective against currently-circulating variants. Evusheld, a long-acting monoclonal antibody, remains available to help prevent COVID-19 infection in people who have moderate to severe immune compromise.

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For the latest information on COVID-19 treatments in California, see the California Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 Treatments hub

Visit CA Treatment Hub

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Paxlovid

Paxlovid is a take-at-home course of pills that does not prevent disease but may reduce the risk of hospitalization and death for patients at high risk of severe illness. It is widely available free of charge at pharmacies in SLO County.

 

 

  • When: This treatment is most effective when taken in the first five days of illness -- the sooner, the better.

 

  • Where: This medication is currently available at many pharmacies in SLO County and through Community Health Centers of the Central Coast (CHC). Find Paxlovid near you via the COVID-19 Therapeutics Locator.

 

  • Next steps for patients: If you test positive for COVID-19, call your regular doctor and ask them about treatment. They can tell you if you would benefit from this treatment. If you would, they can write a prescription that you can then fill at a pharmacy. If you are unable to reach your health care provider quickly, you can talk to a free telehealth provider for COVID-19 care: call 833-686-5051, or visit https://sesamecare.com/covidca (free of charge, no health insurance required).

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Bebtelovimab

Bebtelovimab is no longer authorized for emergency use in the U.S. because it is not expected to neutralize Omicron subvariants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1., according to data included in the Health Care Provider Fact Sheet.

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Veklury (remdesivir)

Remdesivir is an antiviral medicine given by a series of IV infusions in a hospital or clinic setting over the course of several days. This medicine may be a promising treatment for COVID-19 for certain individuals at high risk of severe disease. It is currently in adequate supply; health care providers may order it directly from the manufacturer.

 

  • Who: This medication is available to adult and pediatric patients with certain health conditions that put them at risk of serious disease. This is the only COVID-19 medication treatment option for individuals less than 12 years of age.

 

  • When: This treatment is most effective when taken early in the course of illness.  

 

  • Where: In addition to inpatient hospital settings, FDA notes this medication may now be provided in skilled nursing facilities, home healthcare settings and outpatient facilities such as infusion centers. The Public Health Department is available to provide technical assistance to any local providers who wish to begin administering this medication to outpatients.

 

  • Next steps for patients: If you test positive for COVID-19 and are at high risk, call your regular doctor and ask them about treatment. They can tell you if you would benefit from this treatment, and they can recommend where you may receive it. If you have mild symptoms, we encourage you not to go to the ER for any treatment without calling ahead.

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Evusheld

Evusheld is a combination of two long-acting antibodies that can prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus from infecting cells in the body—much like the antibodies produced by vaccines. Evusheld is in adequate supply in SLO County. However, the prevalence of variants that are resistant to Evusheld is rapidly increasing. Individuals who receive Evusheld as a preventive tool should continue to take precautions to avoid exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. If they experience signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19, they should be tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection and, if infected, promptly seek medical attention and treatment, if appropriate.

 

  • Who: This therapy is intended for individuals (ages 12+) who are moderately or severely immunocompromised (for whom the COVID-19 vaccines may not create strong protection) and for those who cannot complete the COVID-19 vaccine series due to allergy or a severe reaction.

 

  • When: This therapy is effective when used as protection before you are exposed to COVID-19, not as a treatment if you are sick.

 

  • Where: Several private health care providers in SLO County are providing this therapy by physician referral.

 

  • Next steps for patients: If you are moderately or severely immune compromised and are interested in receiving this therapy, talk with your health care provider. Your provider may refer you for this therapy.

 

  • Note to providers: Health care providers in SLO County may make referrals to:
    • Dr. Barry Eibschutz, 805-781-0702
    • Dr. Frank Scott (Arthritis Medical Center), 805-473-4001
    • Dr. Thomas Spillane, 805-543-5577

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Molnupiravir

Molnupiravir is a set of take-at-home pills that has received emergency use authorization for people at high risk for severe illness for whom alternative COVID-19 treatment options authorized by the FDA are not accessible or clinically appropriate. This medication is not currently widely available in SLO County. Patients who are interested in this medication should speak with their health care provider.