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DHS launches free telehealth service to prescribe COVID-19 antiviral medications

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Paxlovid COVID pill MGN

MADISON (WKOW) -- The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announces a free telehealth service to streamline access to COVID-19 treatment Wednesday.

The DHS said in a release that anyone 18 or older who tests positive for COVID-19 can get a free telehealth consultation at short notice and, if eligible, get prescribed an oral antiviral pill. Those without pharmacy access can get the medicine shipped to them overnight.

DHS said quick access to the treatment is important because COVID-19 antiviral treatments must be taken within five days of symptoms starting, even if symptoms are mild. If someone receives treatment, they'll be less likely to experience severe symptoms, hospitalization or death from the virus, according to the DHS.

DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake said this service will help make sure everyone has access to this potentially life-saving treatment.

“Providing telehealth access supports our commitment to health equity,” said Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “Telehealth is a quick, easy, and free way for individuals who may not be able to travel to a clinic, or who may not have insurance or health care, to learn if antiviral pills to treat COVID-19 are an appropriate treatment for them. We believe this will be especially important in extending our ability to serve rural, elderly, and other underserved populations.”

The prescription can be filled at over 600 pharmacies in the state.