People who test positive for COVID — even with a home test — can get a free telehealth visit and free antiviral medication if appropriate.
Oral antivirals such as Paxlovid are an important treatment for people at high risk of hospitalization, including those 65 and older; those with chronic medical conditions such as heart, lung, kidney disease, cancer or diabetes; current or former smokers; and those who are pregnant or obese. Paxlovid can reduce the risk of hospitalization by about 90%, according to the state Department of Health (DOH).
Paxlovid available by prescription only. To prevent severe illness, it must be started within five days of first symptoms and a positive COVID test.
“We’re excited to make this service free to everyone with no out of pocket costs so that even those without insurance will be able to access antiviral medications,” said DOH Chief Science Officer Tao Sheng Kwan-Gett.
Paxlovid is approved for people 12 and older with certain medical conditions. People with some health conditions should not take the medication.
Telehealth consultations and optional overnight delivery of medications are free, even for people without insurance. Consultations are available in multiple languages. This service is provided by DOH in collaboration with Color Health and Bird’s Eye Medical.
To set up a telehealth appointment, call the DOH hotline at 1-800-525-0127. The hotline is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. There is also information about other COVID services and programs at that number.
People can also make an appointment online at https://doh.wa.gov/emergencies/covid-19/treatments/free-telehealth.