According to COCA NOW, people infected with COVID-19 now have easier access to life-saving treatment thanks to a new government initiative called “Test to Treat.” The Test to Treat program makes diagnostic resources more accessible. A patient may benefit from on-site testing. If the findings are encouraging, and the recommended treatments are acceptable, they will not even need to leave the facility to fill their prescription.
You can also go to a Test to Treat site to have a medical specialist review the findings of a home testing kit. Thanks to support from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), these “one-stop shops” are now accessible at pharmacies and medical clinics around the country (FQHCs).
In addition, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) in the United States Department of Health and Human Services has developed a new COVID-19 Test to Treat Locator (HHS). This free tool can help you find local Test to Treat clinics.
Access to a COVID-19 Test to Treat site was investigated about demographic characteristics such as age, rurality, ethnicity, and race. The researchers in this study looked at the location of all Test to Treat areas and how far they were from the city center.
To obtain the national proportion of demographic groupings within X minutes of the nearest location, all census tracts were weighted by population size, stratified by population demographics at the census tract level, and aggregated driving times by demographic subgroup.
Researchers calculated the median and 95% CI for each group of driving times. Many over 2200 COVID-19 Test to Treat facilities were within striking distance of major cities. People who live in cities spend substantially less time driving to and from work. The proportion of rural residents who lived more than an hour away from the nearest Test to Treat facility was more significant than the national average (59%) but still less than 15%.
According to Jama Network, One-fifth of all people over the age of 65, one-third of those of Alaska Native or American Indian heritage, 8% of Hispanics, 10% of African Americans, and 17% of Whites all live more than an hour away from the nearest facility. The average travel time to Test to Treat sites for Alaska Natives and American Indians was 28 minutes greater than for Whites (13.9 min).
Whites resided the furthest away from the Test to Treat locations compared to other races and ethnicities (9.2 min, 10 min, and 8 min, respectively). Rural residents required 69.2 minutes longer than their urban counterparts to access the Test to Treat facilities across all demographic groupings studied (11.1 minutes). The average travel time for Alaska Native or American Indian people was 74.9 minutes, the longest of any category (13.8 minutes).
Oral antivirals from Merck (Lagevrio) and Pfizer are available at Test to Treat clinics (Paxlovid). Even if you enroll in the Test to Treat program, you will still need a doctor’s prescription to obtain these medications. Those who qualify for treatment can also continue to see their regular doctors, who are qualified to administer oral antivirals. Any pharmacy that carries oral antivirals can fill these prescriptions for patients.
If these oral antivirals do not work for a patient, alternative COVID-19 treatment options are available outside the Test to Treat program. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) published treatment guidelines for COVID-19-infected individuals, frequently revised to reflect medical breakthroughs.
More than 60% of rural residents and 30% of Alaska Natives and American Indians lived more than 60 minutes away from the nearest COVID-19 Test to Treat facility, according to the statistics. Rural residents spend an additional 58 minutes a day commuting compared to their urban counterparts.