DC residents can now get free COVID treatment over the phone

A new partnership between DC Health and a telemedicine company will soon get COVID treatment into the hands of patients much faster.

Color Health is a telehealth service that allows patients to talk with a doctor and quickly get a prescription for Paxlovid, the oral antiviral medicine that shortens the duration of COVID symptoms and reduces the risks of developing severe disease.

DC Health announced Monday that it is partnering with the service to reach more patients in the District.

Here’s how it works: Sick residents request a telehealth visit and fill out a short questionnaire. If eligible, they’ll be contacted within five to 30 minutes by a health care provider, who will determine if they’re eligible for treatment.

Paxlovid must be started within five days of developing COVID symptoms.

Residents can choose to have the medicine delivered to their home or pick it up from their preferred pharmacy.

The program is free and available seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. to any adult D.C. resident who tests positive for COVID and who is at a higher risk of developing severe disease. Risk factors include being over 65, having cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, or being a smoker, among others.

To request a telehealth consultation for the COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid, residents will need to visit the Color Health website.

President Joe Biden was treated with the oral antiviral medication following his positive COVID-19 test result last week and initially tested negative before testing positive again this weekend. Some people who take Paxlovid experience a rebound case of the virus.

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