BEND, OR -- St. Charles Urgent Care Clinics are now federally designated as “Test to Treat” sites for COVID-19. St. Charles Medical Director of Infection Prevention Dr. Cynthia Maree tells KBND News it streamlines the process for patients at risk of severe illness, "Now we’re able to dispense directly from our Urgent Cares, so it’s really a one-stop-shopping for folks, so to speak. So, they can come in, get their rapid test done onsite, and if appropriate, either get monoclonal antibodies or the oral therapies such as Paxlovid."
Dr. Maree says it's important that treatment start quickly, "From diagnosis or beginning of symptoms, to start with oral therapies, people need to be tested and a consult to happen and be given therapy within 5 days. So, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for people to seek medical care." She adds, "For this medication to work, it needs to stop the replication of the virus before it gets to the cells, and so it really needs to be given early on in the disease process. That speed is crucial for it to have its effectiveness of 80% from hospitalizations and severe disease."
She says it’s part of an overall effort to improve outcomes for COVID patients and reduce confusion, "As we’ve streamlined this process in our community and tried to help educate people how to access these medications and treatments, we’ve seen a lot of decrease in our call volumes to our call centers from frustrated patients and providers who are trying to access treatments for their patients." Dr. Maree says Test to Treat clinics are for immunocompromised patients and others who need immediate treatment to prevent hospitalization.
St. Charles now offers “Test to Treat” at its Bend South, La Pine and Prineville Urgent Care Clinics. Along with a clinic in Warm Springs, they’re Oregon's only federally designated “Test to Treat” sites outside of the Portland-metro area, according to US Health and Human Services.