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Washtenaw County residents who don’t have health insurance or access to a health care provider are invited to join COVID Plan4Health, a new Washtenaw County Health Department program that connects people to free antiviral treatment (Paxlovid) if they test positive for COVID-19. Treatment is especially important for people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, which includes more people than many realize.
“If you’re not up-to-date on your COVID-19 vaccines (including a bivalent booster) or have risk factors like being older or not very physically active, you’re more likely to get really sick from COVID, even if your initial symptoms are mild,” says Juan Marquez, MD, MPH, Washtenaw County Health Department medical director. “Other high-risk factors include being a current or former smoker, having conditions like asthma, cancer, or diabetes, and being overweight or obese. We encourage all Washtenaw residents who meet these criteria and don’t have access to medical care to join COVID Plan4Health.”
This program is intended for people without health insurance or access to a health care provider. People who do have a health care provider should go to their provider for treatment if needed.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that adults with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 who were prescribed Paxlovid were over 50% less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19. In addition to protecting the health of individuals, COVID-19 treatments can help prevent our local hospital systems from being overwhelmed as they respond to a rise in respiratory illnesses.
How COVID Plan4Health works
Once someone has joined COVID Plan4Health, they can request treatment via email or text message if they test positive for COVID-19. Patients will be able to pick up their prescription for Paxlovid either from the Health Department or local pharmacy.
In addition to free treatment, those who join COVID Plan4Health will be sent free at-home rapid tests. COVID Plan4Health is a partnership between the Washtenaw County Health Department and CareEvolution.
How to join COVID Plan4Health
Joining COVID Plan4Health is free and only takes a few minutes. People can join by filling out a short form online at https://covidplan4health.org/wchd to see if they qualify. Phone assistance is also available for those who need it (734-544-6700). The COVID Plan4Health website will soon be available in Spanish.
“Join COVID Plan4Health today so you’re prepared if you need treatment in the future,” says Dr. Marquez. “COVID treatments must be started within the first few days of having symptoms to be effective. We hope this program gives peace of mind to those who may need treatment quickly if they get COVID-19.”
People can also join COVID Plan4Health once they have already tested positive.
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