Hundreds of “Test to Treat” locations now available in Illinois
Federal health officials are rolling out a plan to connect people at-risk of severe COVID-19 infection with medicine. The vision for the “test to treat” plan is to offer COVID-19 testing and recently approved oral pills to anyone who tests positive in the same space and within a very short amount of time. Providing these services will hopefully eliminate barriers to effective anti-viral treatments. Test to treat revolves around two recently approved oral pills, Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Lagevrio by Merck. These prescription medications significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization after infection by up to 90 percent, according to the manufacturers and prescription drug regulators. Making this initiative possible is a vast network of pharmacies and federally qualified health centers. In Illinois, hundreds of locations now offer test to treat, including CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart pharmacies. A location finder application is now available online as well as a fact sheet about the program. Prospective test to treat centers must be able to provide COVID-19 testing, medical evaluation by licensed professionals and an on-site pharmacy that can fill prescriptions and dispense medication within minutes. Though the Federal government is covering the cost of the medications, some commercial pharmacies may have service charges associated with providing test to treat services. Patients are advised to make sure they have an appointment and understand their financial liabilities before visiting a test to treat facility.