‘Test to Treat’ Options Widely Available in Dutchess County


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‘Test to Treat’ Options Widely
Available in Dutchess County

As COVID cases continue, residents may benefit from prescribed antiviral medications,
especially if at risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms

Poughkeepsie … With COVID-19 still a significant part of the national and regional landscape, the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health (DBCH) reminds residents to continue prevention measures to avoid COVID-19, and to take advantage of widely available treatment options if they do test positive for the virus. Oral and IV antivirals or IV monoclonal antibodies treatments, which have received federal emergency-used authorization and are available locally, include Paxlovid, Remdesivir, Molnupiravir, and Bebtelovimab. These treatments are most effective within the first few days of symptoms starting and are especially important for those at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. Residents who test positive are encouraged to talk to their provider about these treatments and the best option for them. Dutchess County DBCH is offering a Test to Treat option in partnership with PulseMD Urgent Care to make these treatments easily accessible.

DBCH Commissioner Livia Santiago-Rosado, MD FACEP, said, “COVID-19 remains in our community, and residents need to continue to proactively safeguard their health. Unlike the start of the pandemic, however, if you do contract COVID-19, there are now medications that can mitigate the impacts and avoid hospitalization. We encourage residents who test positive to explore this option quickly with their primary care physician to see if any of these treatments will benefit them.”

Dutchess County has partnered with PulseMD Urgent Care to offer rapid telehealth appointments for residents whose provider-performed COVID-19 returns a positive result, who do not have a primary care physician or have had difficulty setting up an appointment with their primary care physician, and are interested in the “Test of Treat” option. Residents with a copy of their provider-performed positive test can register for an online virtual visit with PulseMD Urgent Care at Pulse-MDUrgentCare.com; some residents might be required to be assessed in person and will receive further instructions. During the online appointment, the provider will discuss treatment options and the criteria required to receive them. Based on a resident’s assessment, they may be eligible for antiviral medication or monoclonal antibody treatments.

Patients at high risk of developing severe disease include those who are immunocompromised, those over the age of 65, those who are unvaccinated, and individuals with comorbidities, including cancer, heart disease, obesity, smoking, mental illness and developmental disabilities.

Dr. Santiago-Rosado noted, “While it is encouraging and important to know COVID-19 treatment options are now widely available, DBCH reminds residents to stay mindful and vigilant with individual and household prevention behaviors to avoid contracting COVID-19 whenever possible, and take proactive steps that will help you being able to quickly recover if you do contract the virus.”

COVID-19 cases have risen nationwide in recent weeks, Dutchess County has similarly seen recent increases and is now among the majority of counties in New York State, including most in the Hudson Valley, which the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) classifies as an area of high transmission. As such, DBCH recommends residents continue to take the mitigation steps to lower their risk, including:

• getting and staying up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters;
• masking in indoor public spaces;
• staying home if sick;
• thoroughly washing hands;
• getting tested if experiencing symptoms; and
• seeking evaluation for potential treatment if tested positive.

At-home testing makes it easy for residents to test if they have been exposed to COVID-19 or will be in social contact with those who may be high risk. Free test kits remain available at Dutchess County Government facilities and at community locations. Dutchess County distributed more than 15,000 test kits this month to various community organizations, including local libraries, municipalities, schools, and colleges. Organizations who are interested in having free test kits to distribute can request kits by emailing COVIDsupplyrequest@dutchessny.gov.

Dutchess County also continues to offer free, walk-in COVID-19 testing in partnership with Senergene Systems at the former JCPenney location at the Poughkeepsie Galleria. Testing is available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1pm to 7pm and on Saturdays from 9am to 12pm. PCR and rapid antigen testing are offered and there is no out-of-pocket cost to residents.

Additional information about COVID-19, testing and vaccination options, including the latest guidance on boosters is available on the County’s website, dutchessny.gov/coronavirus.