With COVID-19, the flu, and respiratory viruses on the rise this winter, Riverside County is making sure that residents have access to treatment all across the county.
They are now offering what they call test-to-treat clinics.
I spoke with Dr. Jennifer Chevinsky, the deputy public health officer for Riverside County on what exactly these clinics are.
“So we have test-to-treat clinics that we have set up all throughout Riverside County. One of those partners is the Optum, or LHI sites. We’re in front of one of those LHI sites right now. St. Theresa, but we have been able to collaborate with churches, community centers and with other organizations to help us to provide testing and treatment throughout the county.” Dr. Jennifer Chevinsky says.
As COVID cases are on the rise, Dr. Jennifer Chevinsky says before gathering this holiday season, residents can head to gettested.ruhealth.org to find test-to-treat sites near them.
“At the appointment, you can get your COVID test… and you can also get evaluated for treatment all in the same time. So that’s why it’s called a test to treat site because you can get tested and treated all within the same appointment time.” Dr. Chevinsky says.
These sites are not strictly for COVID-19 testing and treatment. Those dealing with the flu may also receive help at the clinics.
But for those seeking treatment for COVID-19, the clinics provide Paxlovid, an antiviral medication that needs to be started within 5 days of having symptoms or testing positive for COVID.
“And that medication has been shown to be very effective at decreasing severity of disease and preventing severe illness from COVID.” Dr. Chevinsky emphasizes.
These test-to-treat clinics are free of charge and do not require insurance or documentation. All you have to do is show up.
“So we’ve had these clinics going on for months, but now with the uptick in cases that we’re seeing, we’re increasing hours, we’re increasing locations.”
Just some of the sites that offer test-to-treat clinics are St. Theresa Catholic Church, Sacred Heart Catholic Church, the UCR Palm Desert Campus, and the La Quinta Wellness Center along with many others across the Coachella Valley.
“One thing that we definitely want to make sure everybody knows is that our emergency rooms are getting a high volume right now. We know that there are a lot of people coming in. If you’re not experiencing very severe symptoms, and if you’re just wondering and wanting to get a test and get treated, please check out one of these sites. alternatively, it may be a better option for you.”
If residents are not able to make it out to one of the test-to-treat sites, Riverside County offers many other resources including a telehealth service for those seeking both COVID-19 testing and treatments.