Governor Roy Cooper and state health officials are encouraging North Carolinians to seek treatment quickly if they get sick with COVID-19. FDA authorized treatments that can lower the risk of hospitalization and death are widely available. These treatments must be administered early, some within 5 days, and can only be prescribed by a medical professional.
Treatments are available for people who are high risk for severe illness from COVID-19. About two thirds of adult North Carolinians are considered high risk, including older adults, pregnant people and people with certain medical conditions such as obesity, asthma, diabetes or depression. Learn more about the factors that may put you at risk.
“In addition to preventive vaccines which significantly reduce serious illness and death, there are now highly effective and safe treatments available if you get COVID-19 that may only involve taking pills,” said Governor Cooper. “If you test positive, don’t delay because starting treatment early is important.”
COVID-19 often begins with mild respiratory symptoms that feel like a cold or flu, but symptoms may get worse. If think you might have COVID-19 get tested as soon as possible. Stay away from others except to get medical care. Here are three ways to access treatment, which requires a prescription:
- Find a Test to Treat location to get treatment immediately after a positive test, even if you do not have insurance or a regular doctor.
- Talk to your health care provider about treatment.
- Call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 888-720-7489).
“We have a good supply of treatment available in North Carolina,” said Susan Kansagra, MD, Deputy State Health Officer and Senior Deputy Public Health Director at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. “Most North Carolinians are eligible for treatment, so we encourage health care providers and patients to have a conversation about treatment options if there has been a recent diagnosis of COVID-19.”
The Biden-Harris Administration launched a new nationwide Test to Treat initiative in March to give individuals an important way to quickly access lifesaving treatment for COVID-19. There are more than 1,000 treatment providers across North Carolina, including more than 100 Test to Treat providers.
For more information about treatments, including cost and insurance information, and to find treatment locations visit covid19.ncdhhs.gov/Treatment (Spanish). While the medicine itself is free, there may be charges for testing, evaluation or administration. Do not take any medications unless they are FDA approved and prescribed by a doctor.
NCDHHS sent a memo to all North Carolina clinicians last week emphasizing the importance of these treatments as a tool to protect patients from severe illness from COVID-19. All providers can prescribe these treatments s for their high-risk patients by sending a prescription for oral antiviral drugs to a pharmacy with inventory. More information for providers, including a treatment locator, is available on the NCDHHS COVID-19 website.
Treatments are not a substitute for vaccination. Being up-to-date on vaccines, including boosters, offers the best protection from serious illness, hospitalization and death, and new research shows this protects against long COVID as well. For more information and to find a vaccine location near you visit MySpot.nc.gov or Vacunate.nc.gov.