Don’t Delay: Test Soon and Treat Early

If you are at high risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, and test positive, treatment may be available.

  • Get tested as soon as possible after your symptoms start.
  • Contact your healthcare provider right away if you result is positive.
  • Don’t delay. Treatment must be started early to work.

COVID-19: Test to Treat Guidance

If you test positive for COVID-19 and have one or more health conditions that increase your risk of becoming very sick, treatment may be available. Contact a health professional right away after a positive test to determine if you may be eligible, even if your symptoms are mild right now. Don’t delay: Treatment must be started within the first few days to be effective.

Treatments used for COVID-19 should be prescribed by your healthcare provider. People have been seriously harmed and even died after taking products not approved for use to treat or prevent COVID-19, even products approved or prescribed for other uses. Talk to your healthcare provider about what option may be best for you.

Learn more on the CDC’s webpage about Treatments Your Healthcare Provider Might Recommend if You Are Sick.

If you are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19

Your healthcare provider might recommend that you receive additional treatment. Learn more about COVID-19 and people with certain medical conditions.

For people at high risk of disease progression, the FDA has issued EUAs for a number of treatments for COVID-19.

  • Monoclonal antibody treatments could help the immune system recognize and respond more effectively to the virus.
  • Oral antiviral medications that target specific parts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus can help reduce its multiplication and spread through the patient’s body.
  • Some of these treatments may not be effective against the Omicron variant. Your healthcare provider will decide which, if any, of these treatments are appropriate to treat your illness.
  • The NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines provide recommendations about these treatments for COVID-19 and describe what is known about their effectiveness. If used, they should be administered as soon as possible after diagnosis.

Treatment in the Hospital

Treatments can be used for different reasons, depending on the severity of the illness, in order to:

  • Slow the virus. Antiviral medications reduce the ability of the virus to multiply and spread through the patient’s body.
  • Reduce an overactive immune response. In patients with severe COVID-19, the body’s immune system may overreact to the threat of the virus, worsening the disease. This can cause damage to the body’s organs and tissues. Some treatments can help reduce this overactive immune response.
  • Treat complications. COVID-19 can damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, and gastrointestinal organs. It also can cause other complications. Depending on the complications, additional treatments might be used for severely ill hospitalized patients, such as blood thinners to prevent or treat blood clots.

Learn more about COVID-19 and people with certain medical conditions.

COVID-19 Test to Treat: Fact Sheet

The Biden-Harris Administration is launching a new nationwide Test to Treat initiative that will give individuals an important new way to rapidly access free lifesaving treatment for COVID-19. In this program, people will be able to get tested and—if they are positive and treatments are appropriate for them—receive a prescription from a healthcare provider, and have their prescription filled all in one location. These “One-Stop Test to Treat” locations will be available at hundreds of locations nationwide, including pharmacy-based clinics, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), and long-term care facilities. People will also continue to be able to be tested and treated by their own
healthcare providers who can appropriately prescribe these oral antivirals at locations where they are being distributed.

Read the full Fact Sheet: COVID-19 Test to Treat from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response (ASPR) and learn more about Test to Treat.

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