January 27, 2022 Public Health Advisory: Early COVID-19 Treatment for People with High-Risk Conditions

There are medicines available to prevent severe illness or disease if you start to get sick with COVID-19. The medicines must be given as soon as possible, BEFORE people are sick enough to need to go to the hospital.

With all the treatments, it is very important they are started as soon as possible after symptoms start. Get tested immediately if you feel COVID-19 symptoms so you can talk to your provider about treatment options. Getting a rapid test may be best, so you can get a quicker result and start medicine sooner.

People with certain health conditions are at high risk to get severely ill or hospitalized from COVID-19. If you start to feel sick with COVID-19 symptoms and have any of these high-risk conditions, talk with your provider as soon as possible to see if you should get early COVID-19 treatment.

  • People who are overweight or obese or;
  • People with diabetes or high blood pressure or;
  • People who are pregnant or;
  • People with lung problems, heart problems, or kidney problems or;
  • People with weakened immune systems or;
  • People who are over age 65 or;
  • People who have not gotten the COVID-19 vaccine or;
  • People with other chronic health problems (ask your doctor).

Talk with a provider to see if treatment is recommended and, if so, which option is the best for you.

This may depend on personal factors like your health problems, what medicines you take, and whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding. People who have not gotten the vaccine are at much higher risk for severe disease, but treatment may still be indicated for certain high-risk health conditions when persons have received the vaccine. There are three treatment options available (taken by mouth or IV), and data suggests they remain effective against the Omicron variant.

The oral treatments (pills) require a doctor’s prescription and are only available at certain pharmacies. They must be started as soon as possible after COVID-19 symptoms start—within 5 days—to be effective and must be taken exactly as prescribed. If you don’t have a provider, you can call 2-1-1 to find one in your area; some providers and insurance plans may offer telehealth video visits.

The IV monoclonal antibody treatment is only available at certain locations and must be given within 10 days of symptoms starting. Supply may be limited at times, so it may not necessarily be available at all providers.

  • Dinuba
    • Mountain View Clinic: via self-referral or provider referral (call 559-591-6200)
  • Porterville
    • Sierra View Hospital: via provider referral only
  • Tulare
    • Tulare Adventist ER: walk-in to ER to see a provider
  • Visalia
    • Kaweah Health: via self-referral Mon–Sat, 8 a.m.–-5 p.m. (call 559-624-2161)
    • Dr. Baz Clinic: via self-referral or provider referral (call 559-436-4500)

These FDA EUA-approved treatments are currently the only recommended treatment for non-hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Preliminary data has shown they prevent illness progression by as much as 88% (Paxlovid, oral antiviral), 70-85% (Sotrovimab, IV monoclonal antibody), and 30% (Molnupiravir, oral antiviral). Other treatments previously suggested in the pandemic (e.g., ivermectin, azithromycin, hydroxychloroquine) are not recommended, as they do not have proven efficacy and may even be harmful in some situations without clinical monitoring.

As a reminder, staying up to date with your vaccination remains critical for preventing COVID-19 infection and severe disease—including for those with a history of infection. Booster vaccines for all persons aged 12 years and older once eligible are strongly recommended, as data shows a greatly increased protection against Omicron.

Online Resources:

CDC, Treatments Your Health Care Provider Might Recommend If You Are Sick: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/treatments-for-severe-illness.html

CDPH, COVID-19 Treatments: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID- 19/Treatments.aspx#

FDA, Paxlovid EUA Patient Fact Sheet: https://www.fda.gov/media/155051/download

FDA, Sotrovimab EUA Patient Fact Sheet: https://www.fda.gov/media/149533/download

FDA, Molnupiravir EUA Patient Fact Sheet: https://www.fda.gov/media/155055/download

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