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Coronavirus

‘Test to Treat’ now available at State Center COVID-19 testing site in Baltimore

People who test positive for COVID-19 with a rapid test at the State Center in Baltimore can now be evaluated immediately for the antiviral medication Paxlovid that has proved effective in stemming severe cases.

State Center is already a regional state-run hub for testing and vaccinations, and officials with the Maryland Department of Health decided to add the federally designated “Test to Treat” program to make the prescription more accessible.

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It’s already available at 50 drugstores and urgent care centers around the state, including CVS MinuteClinics and ExpressCare locations. An online locator is hosted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The State Center site at 300 W. Preston St. will offer testing, on-site evaluation and the prescription six days a week. The services and medication are free.

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The treatment option comes as cases have begun rising again in recent weeks. There were 1,913 cases added Friday and the percentage of those tested who are positive ticked over 6%, above the 5% bench mark considered the marker for wide community spread. COVID-related hospitalizations statewide remain relatively low at 236, far below the high of more than 3,200 in January during the omicron surge.

“Expanding Test to Treat at State Center is directly in line with our goal of ensuring that Marylanders have easy access to all of the lifesaving COVID-19 tools available to keep them safe and protected from severe illness or hospitalization,” state Health Secretary Dennis R. Schrader said in a statement. “Test to Treat at State Center is a free, one-stop shop that will further help Maryland remain one the safest states during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Officials urge people who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 to be tested. The antiviral medications need to be administered within five days of the onset of symptoms. Others may be eligible for monoclonal antibody therapy, though it also has to begin within five to seven days.

Those who test positive for COVID-19 using an at-home test still can use the treatment program by filling out an online form that asks eligibility questions or have a telehealth or phone consultation. They will be given a prescription to fill at a pharmacy.


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