The state is opening two COVID-19 “Test to Treat” locations — in Santa Maria and Goleta — where people get tested, be seen by a healthcare provider and, if eligible, get a prescription for antiviral pills, according to the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.
Both locations – at 937 Thornburg St. in Santa Maria, and 6100 Wallace Becknell Road in Goleta – are already state-run COVID-19 testing sites.
The state’s Test to Treat services are free to everyone, with or without health insurance, according to the county.
“People 12 years old and older who weigh more than 88 pounds and have high-risk conditions may be eligible for treatment,” Public Health Department representatives told Noozhawk.
To qualify for treatment, patients need to be at increased risk of developing severe COVID-19, according to Public Health.
The antiviral pill prescriptions Test to Treat providers will be writing include Paxlovid and molnupiravir, according to Public Health. Both were developed and approved for use in treating mild and moderate COVID-19.
State-run testing sites in Santa Maria, Lompoc, Goleta and Santa Barbara were expected to close by the end of June, according to Public Health. The two Test to Treat sites are at existing testing sites, and they likely won’t close as expected.
“As of now, the plan is to keep them open,” Public Health representatives said.
According to Public Health, here is how people can access outpatient COVID-19 treatments if symptoms are present:
» Talk to their health care provider right after they notice symptoms to learn if they qualify for a COVID-19 treatment.
» If they do not have a health care provider or do not hear back from their provider within a few days, they can visit a Test to Treat location to get rapid testing and find to find out if they are eligible for treatments.
» If they do not have insurance, they can access treatments by visiting an OptumServe location.
Testing and treatment will be free of cost to all patients at OptumServe locations, but other treatment facilities may charge for the administration of an antiviral. Individuals should check with their insurance provider to see if their plan covers treatment.
Outpatient COVID-19 treatment is also available through primary healthcare providers and urgent care centers, and there may be more Test to Treat centers opening in Santa Barbara County.
“Sansum Clinic providers have been writing prescriptions for Paxlovid for their patients who meet the criteria for receiving Paxlovid to treat a current COVID-19 infection,” Chief Medical Director Dr. Kurt Ransohoff said.
“The drug is not authorized for use in those who do not have an active, recent COVID-19 infection, which is a frequently asked question,” he told Noozhawk.
“We have been designated to be a Test to Treat center by the Public Health Department, which will be done through our Urgent Care. Currently, all the pieces are not in place for us to be an active Test to Treat site, but we anticipate that will happen soon.”