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‘COVID-19 Treatments are Free and Widely Available but Underutilized’ – NBC 7 San Diego

COVID-19 cases are continuing to soar. The spike in cases comes amid a heavy influenza and RSV season.

California Department of Public Health Officials is urging people who contract COVID-19 and are at risk of serious illness, to use COVID-19 treatments.

Risk factors for developing serious illness are, being over 50 years old, being unvaccinated, and having common conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.

“They reduced hospitalizations by almost close to 90% for people who’ve never been vaccinated, and even if people have been vaccinated and or had prior infections it can reduce the risk of hospitalization by almost half,” California Department of Public Health Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said.

Paxlovid and Remdesivir are among the treatments available to people. Both treatment options are more effective when taken within days of being symptomatic.

“You’ve got to get those medications within five days for the most part and the sooner that you start taking those medications the better. So as soon as you start to notice symptoms, that’s when the clock starts, it’s about a five-day window but really the sooner the better,” UCSD Chief of Infectious Diseases Dr. Davey Smith said.

Concerns about the availability of COVID-19 treatments are being shot down.

“It is available, and the way you can look for where it is of course first by talking to your healthcare provider, but we also have a test to treat locator on our website, and actually in the state if you can’t get it through your provider, you can do that through our telehealth provider, which is Sesame,” Dr. Pan said.

While touting the efficacy of the current treatments Infectious Disease Specialists are already looking to improve the treatments in the future.

“Well, new therapies are coming. I’m helping work on some. And hopefully, that will mean the next generation of therapies work better,” Dr. Smith said.

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