Minnesotans can now access free COVID-19 care and therapeutics
Minnesota launched its COVID-19 telehealth treatment pilot program Monday, which will allow Minnesotans who test positive to access care and therapeutics, like Paxlovid, at no cost.
ROCHESTER — Minnesota launched its COVID-19 telehealth treatment pilot program Monday, which will allow Minnesotans who test positive to access care and therapeutics at no cost, according to a Minnesota Department of Health.
“This program is another tool we have to ensure that Minnesotans who have tested positive for COVID-19 have easy access to clinician care and therapeutic treatments that reduce their risk of serious illness or hospitalization,” said Garry Bowman, MDH spokesperson. “Additionally, we believe this program can help alleviate some of the strain Minnesota’s healthcare system is currently experiencing.”
If a Minnesotan tests positive with either a lab or home test and has experienced symptoms within the last five days, they can download the Cue Health app on their smartphones or call 833-283-8378 and sign up with their Minnesota address to have a virtual consultation with a licensed clinician who will evaluate them to determine if therapeutic treatment, such as Paxlovid, is a good option.
If they are a good candidate for therapeutics, the clinician can issue that prescription to the patient’s local pharmacy. In some areas of the state, those prescription medications can be delivered to the person’s home. However, Bowman said the therapeutics can not be issued out of state if a candidate is traveling, for example.
All services, including the consultation, medication and delivery, will come at no cost to the Minnesotans who use this service. Health insurance is not required.
“This pilot program is another tool in Minnesota’s toolbox for limiting the negative impacts of COVID-19,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “We know that accessing therapeutics within five days of developing symptoms of COVID-19 can greatly improve outcomes.”
The program is provided by the Minnesota Department of Health and Cue Health, a diagnostic testing and technology company based in San Diego.
Bowman said that the pilot program is operating with a limited funding allocation and that the length of time the program is funded will depend partially on usage. He estimates there is funding for this program to operate through mid-February.
Minnesotans at higher risk for COVID-19 who test positive also can get COVID-19 medications through their health care provider and other in-person test-to-treat locations around the state.
MDH continues to recommend that Minnesotans test if they have symptoms, stay home if they test positive and keep up to date with recent COVID-19 vaccinations.
For more information about the pilot program, Minnesotans can visit mn.gov/covid19/treatments/telehealth.jsp .
How to access a COVID-19 test?
This pilot program works with any at-home or lab COVID-19 test regardless of brand, but tests should be PCR or antigen tests and not antibody blood test results.
Here are some options:
- Walk in or schedule an appointment for a test at one of the state’s free COVID-19 Community Testing Sites .
- Order rapid tests through the state’s free COVID-19 at-home rapid testing program.
- Check with your insurance company about ways to get free rapid tests from pharmacies.
- Find a testing option near you through the state’s Find Testing Locations map.