I have COVID-19. What to know about treatments in California

The lines of the home test made it official: you tested positive for the corona virus.

What now?

Tens of thousands of Californians ask themselves the same question week after week as the latest wave of the pandemic continues to demonstrate its dogged staying power.

Here are some important steps you can take:

Check if you are eligible for anti-COVID medication

Two antiviral oral medications are available for eligible patients to receive free of charge.

But you must start taking the pills within five days of the onset of symptoms. With all anti-COVID medication, it is best to start taking the medication as soon as symptoms begin.

Paxlovid is available to people ages 12 and older weighing at least 88 pounds.

Molnupiravir can be given to people 18 years and older, but it is not recommended for pregnant patients and only recommended when other medications are unavailable.

Recipients are eligible if they have one or more risk factors for progression to severe COVID-19. Ask your doctor if you qualify.

Health officials have previously said the eligibility criteria are fairly broad and it’s likely many patients would qualify for the drugs. These include aging or medical conditions such as being overweight – a category covering 74% of US citizens – physical inactivity, high blood pressure, ever smoked, currently or recently pregnant and consuming alcohol or drugs, depression, heart disease, asthma or diabetes .

Healthcare providers can consider the benefits of prescribing the drug for each individual patient according to a Food and Drug Administration checklist.

Paxlovid’s maker, Pfizer, said in a statement in mid-June that there was no evidence Paxlovid had helped patients who were not at higher risk of serious illness. Pfizer announced it is ending a study testing Paxlovid in people who are not at higher risk.

A federal website lists pharmacies that have the pills.

If you can’t get an appointment with your doctor or don’t have one, you can also go to a “test-to-treat” place, such as a pharmacy or clinic, where you can get tested and a local healthcare provider can authorize a prescription issue and/or make the medication available to you.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health also has a free calling service to report a positive test, speak to a healthcare provider, get a prescription, and even have the pills mailed to you for free. Call (833) 540-0473 for more information. The call center is open seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m

There are also injectable drugs to treat COVID-19.

Remdesivir, an antiviral drug, can be given to patients as young as 28 days old and weighing at least 6.6 pounds. It should be administered within seven days of the onset of symptoms.

Another injectable drug, bebtelovimab, is a monoclonal antibody and can be given to people 12 years and older and weighing at least 88 pounds. It is only recommended when other medications are unavailable.

The drugs themselves are free, but the county health department recommends checking to see if a treating facility charges fees for administration.

The county advises on its website that patients first check whether their insurance will cover these costs. “If you don’t have insurance, check with the treatment facility to see if there are any fees,” it says.

Medicare and Medi-Cal cover all enrollment costs.

Watch out for the rebound after Paxlovid

Some coronavirus-positive patients who have completed treatment with Paxlovid are getting sick again, and experts are urging people to be cautious if they develop COVID-like symptoms again and become contagious.

“In some of these cases, patients tested negative on a direct SARS-CoV-2 virus test and then tested positive again,” the FDA said.

The FDA said patients should wear a mask and stay home and isolate if they have symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of whether they have been given an antiviral drug like Paxlovid.

“Individuals with a return of COVID-19 symptoms or a new positive virus test after testing negative should resume isolation and re-isolate for at least 5 days,” the CDC said in a recommendation in late May.

dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, who tested positive for the coronavirus two weeks ago, said via video at the Foreign Policy Global Health Forum this week that he had recurring COVID-19 symptoms and tested positive again after completing his test Paxlovid first course was tested.

After completing the first five-day round, he tested negative for three consecutive days but tested positive on day four. The next day or so, Fauci said he felt “really bad, a lot worse than the first run through.” Fauci took a second five-day Paxlovid course, and on Tuesday he was on day four of the final treatment cycle and said, “Thankfully, I’m feeling reasonably well. I mean, I’m not completely symptom-free, but I certainly don’t feel acutely ill.”

Stay at home

It’s simple, but it’s true. Those who have been infected should stay home as much as possible except to receive medical care, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Residents should also carefully monitor their symptoms for possible emergency warning signs — such as difficulty breathing, persistent chest pain or pressure, confusion, an inability to wake up or stay awake, and skin, lips, or nail beds that have turned a pale bluish or shade of gray.

“Please call your doctor if you have other symptoms that are severe or concern you,” the CDC says.

Even if you’re showing signs of illness but have tested negative, don’t give yourself a false sense of security that you don’t have COVID-19. You can test negative even if you are infected and contagious.

In general, tests are able to detect omicron infection, but enough virus must have reproduced and be present at high enough levels in the nose or saliva to be detectable.

There is a potential blind spot of at least one day in which neither PCR nor rapid antigen tests can detect the contagion status of a coronavirus-positive person.

“You’re likely to get a negative test on the first day you’re contagious with Omicron [a rapid] antigen test,” said Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist and former professor at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, on the In the Bubble podcast in January.

Isolate

Anyone who tests positive should separate from other people if possible. Stay at home in a designated room and use a separate bathroom if possible. If you must be around other people or animals, wear a well-fitting mask.

Make sure you cover coughs or sneezes and wash your hands frequently. Avoid sharing personal household items with others and, if possible, regularly clean high-touch surfaces such as counters and doorknobs.

In shared spaces, the California Department of Health also recommends opening windows to increase airflow or using exhaust fans or air purifiers when possible.

Residents should isolate for at least five full days from the onset of symptoms or the date of a positive test, state health officials say.

According to state guidelines, residents can leave isolation after five days if they test negative on or after the fifth day, do not have a fever and their symptoms are improving. If they test positive on or after Day 5, they should continue to isolate, not have a fever, and have their symptoms improving for up to 1 day after receiving a negative test result.

Under the guidelines, residents can typically exit isolation by day 11 without a negative test result, provided they have been free of fever without having to take medication.

Even if isolation is ended sooner, state health officials strongly recommend masking around others — especially indoors — for the entire 10-day period.

While California has issued isolation recommendations, LA County still has a health ordinance mandating isolation of infected individuals. It is largely similar to the state recommendations. Once you show symptoms or take a test that comes back positive, LA County requires you to isolate yourself from others for at least five days and wear a mask around others, suggesting it’s even being done at home.

If you take a rapid test on or after the fifth day after the onset of symptoms and the result is negative – and you have been fever-free for 24 hours without using antipyretic medication and you have no symptoms or are improving – you can start isolation on or quit after the sixth day. However, it is still strongly recommended to wear a mask around other people until day 10.

Otherwise, you can usually end the isolation on the 11th day.

You may need to isolate longer if you are immunocompromised or have had severe COVID-19 illness. And if you still have a fever, LA County is asking you to remain isolated until 24 hours after the fever has passed.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-06-30/i-have-covid-19-what-to-do-next I have COVID-19. What to know about treatments in California

Alley Einstein

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