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Detroit residents can now get free COVID antiviral treatments

The Detroit Health Department has partnered with the state of Michigan to expand services and offer free treatment to residents who test positive for COVID-19.

Detroit is the latest city to be chosen for a nationwide program dubbed "Test to Treat," which city officials billed as a one-stop COVID service. The program has hundreds of locations nationwide.

Residents must be tested for COVID at a designated northwest site, and if they test positive, receive a medical evaluation. If medication is needed, they then can receive oral antiviral medication. Oral medications are 90% effective at preventing severe illness due to COVID-19 but are only effective if treatment begins within five days of illness onset, according to city health leaders.

If other treatments are needed, referrals will be made to medical care providers. All the services are free, city health officials announced Monday. 

“Providing the Test to Treat program is directly in line with our goal of ensuring that Detroiters have easy access to all of the life-saving COVID-19 tools available to keep them safe and protected from severe illness or hospitalization,” said Denise Fair Razo, DHD's chief public health officer.

The Test to Treat program is available at Joseph Walker Williams Center, 8431 Rosa Parks Blvd., from 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Appointments must be made in advance by calling (313) 230-0505.

“Understanding available treatment options to manage COVID-19 if you test positive is important in preventing symptoms from getting worse”, said Dr. Robert Dunne, the Detroit Health Department's acting medical director. “This is one more tool in helping us reduce COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths by quickly getting people the treatment they need.”

Detroit is among the hardest-hit cities in the nation with 130,207 confirmed cases resulting in 3,427 deaths.

About 42% of all Detroiters age 5 and older have been fully vaccinated, compared to 61% of Michigan residents.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_