Test to Treat program gives people a fast and easy way to get lifesaving treatment for COVID-19. In this program, people can get tested at Test to Treat sites. If they test positive and treatments are appropriate for them, they can get a prescription from a healthcare provider and have the prescription filled all in one location. People can also bring test results obtained from a home testing kit to Test to Treat sites and get evaluated by a healthcare provider for treatment. These one-stop Test to Treat sites are available nationwide at hundreds of pharmacy-based clinics and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)-supported federally qualified health centers (FQHCs).
What Your Test Results Mean
Underlying Medical Conditions
People at risk for severe COVID-19 may have conditions that make them more likely to be hospitalized, need intensive care, require a ventilator to help them breathe, or die. The following underlying medical conditions are risk factors that may lead to someone having severe COVID-19, including:
Although these treatments are not cures, they may lessen the severity of symptoms and help keep high-risk patients out of the hospital. Treatment is available only by referral or prescription. Talk to your health care provider as soon as you test positive for COVID-19 so they can determine the best treatment for you.
Questions to Ask Your Physician
You may be eligible to receive COVID treatment if you have recently tested positive for COVID-19, or were recently exposed, and are at a greater risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. Here are some questions you can discuss with your physician:
- I have tested positive for COVID-19, what treatments are available for me?
- I have “cold” symptoms, should I get a test for COVID-19?
- I am taking medications that make me more susceptible to infections and change my immunity. Is there any medication I can take to prevent a COVID-19 infection?
Any provider, including primary care and urgent care providers, are able to make referrals or write prescriptions for treatment.
What is a Self-Test or At-Home Test?
Self-tests for COVID-19 give rapid results and can be taken anywhere, regardless of your vaccination status or whether or not you have symptoms.
- They detect current infection and are sometimes also called “home tests,” “at-home tests,” or “over-the-counter (OTC) tests.”
- They give your result in a few minutes and are different from laboratory-based tests that may take days to return your result.
- Self-tests do not detect antibodies which would suggest a previous infection and they do not measure your level of immunity.
IF YOUR TEST IS Positive:
- The test detected the virus and you have an infection.
- Stay home for at least 5 days and isolate from others in your home.
- Tell your close contacts.
- Wear a well-fitted mask when around others. If available, a N95 or KN95 respirator is recommended.
- Watch for symptoms. If you have any emergency warning signs, seek emergency care immediately.
- Tell your healthcare provider. Contact them as soon as possible if:
IF YOUR TEST IS Negative:
- The test did not detect the virus but doesn’t rule out an infection.
- Some self-tests are designed to be used in a series (also known as serial testing). Consider repeating the test 24 to 48 hours later.
- Multiple negative tests increase the confidence that you are not infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
- The PCR test takes a sample of ribonucleic acid (RNA) and “amplifies” it with the help of lab technologies. Amplifying RNA helps to make even small traces of the COVID-19 virus visible in the test sample. Even if you have a small trace of the virus in your system, the PCR test will detect it.
- Rapid tests that produce results in 15-30 minutes. They are less reliable, especially for people who do not have symptoms. A single, negative antigen test result does not rule out infection. The rapid test, called an antigen test, checks for proteins that are found on the outside of the virus.
*Self-tests, or at-home tests, are usually antigen tests that can be taken anywhere without having to go to a specific testing site. Follow FDA and manufacturer’s instructions, including the number of times you may need to test. Multiple negative test results increase the confidence that you are not infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
Reference: https://covidlink.maryland.gov/content/testing/treatment-options/ (NIH WEBSITE)