Gov. Walz visits COVID-19 community test-to-treat site

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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz visited one of the state’s three COVID-19 community testing sites that will offer a test-to-treat option on Thursday.

The first one will open Friday in Brooklyn Park, the second site will open Monday in Moorhead, with the third opening Tuesday in Duluth.

Walz stopped at the Brooklyn Park site Thursday morning.

Minnesota is one of four states in the country chosen to launch the new test-to-treat site, and Walz visited the site to explain how the process will work.

“This is one of the best things we can do,” said Walz. “The test and treat sites are highly successful at reducing hospitalizations, reducing some of those long term effects from COVID.”

Anyone who wants to be tested can show up at the site, and will be given a rapid antigen test, which you’ll then take in your vehicle and wait for 15 minute.

If you test positive, doctors and nurses will be able to help determine if you’re eligible for the anti-viral treatment Paxlovid. If you are eligible, you’ll get the prescription at the testing site, and then go directly to your pharmacy to get the drug.

However, doctors say in order to be eligible for the treatment, you need to be determined at being high-risk to receive the prescription.

“There will be an extensive consultation with our providers, looking through medical histories, looking at your co-morbidities and determining if they’re a good candidate for this life-saving antiviral. If they are, they’ll draft a script, get it to a local pharmacy and like our governor said, have that done possibly within an hour,” said Kandance Graunke, the Vault Health Regional Clinical Director.

The antivirals are free to Minnesotans.

One of Vault Health’s operations managers said any patient can be evaluated at the sites to see if they are a fit for the antiviral pill. She added that those who are approved for it will take the pill twice a day for five days, and many patients have reported feeling much better within 24 hours of starting the treatment.

Walz added the state is working on making the drug available at the site.

The state will add additional test-to-treat sites in the future.

As for a special session, Walz said legislative leaders are meeting about some topics, including public safety, and the governor said he remains hopeful agreements can be reached.

You can watch the full news conference held Thursday morning in the video player below.

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