Last updated: 3/1/2023
If you test positive for COVID-19 and are age 12 or older, free treatment may help you recover faster and avoid serious illness. Contact your healthcare provider or pharmacy, visit a test to treat location, contact California's free COVID-19 provider or call the County Health Advice Nurse at (877) 661-6230.
Don’t delay, even if your symptoms are mild right now – treatment works best when started right away.
Antivirals, such as the oral antiviral pill Paxlovid, prevent viruses from making more of themselves or "multiplying" in the body. They are very effective at preventing severe disease from COVID-19 infection and help you recover faster.
“Rebound” after Paxlovid treatment: While Paxlovid is very effective, some people have reported getting sick again days after completing the treatment (known as a “rebound”). Limited information currently available from case reports suggests that persons treated with Paxlovid who experience COVID-19 rebound have had mild illness; there are no reports of severe disease. If you experience a rebound, you’re infectious and must restart your isolation period. For more information, see the CDC’s health alert.
There is no cost for most COVID-19 treatments themselves, but the treating facility may charge for the administration of the drug. Medicare and Medicaid (Medi-Cal) cover all costs. Check your insurance plan, as many large private insurance plans cover costs. If you do not have insurance, ask the treatment facility if there are fees.
Who Can Get Treatments
We recommend COVID-19 treatment for anyone who tests positive but especially for those over 65 years old or with medical conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, cancer and depression.
How to Get Treatments
It’s important to begin treatment as soon as possible after getting a positive COVID-19 test result (either a PCR/lab test or home test).
Your Healthcare Provider
Talk to your healthcare provider or call the Contra Costa County Health Advice Nurse at (877) 661-6230 to learn if you qualify for a COVID-19 treatment that requires a prescription or referral.
Some pharmacies may be able to give you a prescription for treatment. Contact your pharmacy to see if they offer this service.
California’s Free COVID-19 Provider
Call (833) 686-5051 or click to make a phone or video appointment with California’s free COVID-19 provider who can prescribe COVID-19 medications if appropriate. Medicines may be mailed to you or picked up at a pharmacy. If you are asked to pay at the pharmacy, call (888) 897-1244 so the provider can follow up with the pharmacy.
Test to Treat Locations
At Test to Treat locations, you will be tested for COVID-19. If you test positive and treatments are appropriate for you, you may receive a treatment prescription from a healthcare provider. These medications (oral antiviral pills) treat COVID-19 and are free of cost and available even if you don't have health insurance.
Contra Costa Health Advice Nurse
Any county resident can contact the Contra Costa Health Advice Nurse at (877) 661-6230 for free treatment consultation. The advice nurse can schedule a phone appointment with a doctor, who can recommend treatment and write a prescription.
Watch for Severe Symptoms
Go to the hospital or seek emergency medical attention right away if you develop severe COVID-19 symptoms, including:
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
Inability to wake or stay awake
Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of Paxlovid
COVID-19 Treatments (California Department of Public Health)