Minnesota launches new COVID telehealth treatment

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The Minnesota Department of Health launched a new telehealth test-to-treat program Monday to ensure Minnesotans who have tested positive for COVID have easy access to clinician care and therapeutic treatments that reduce their risk of serious illness or hospitalization.

Patients download the free app, called Cue Health, after testing positive and are then connected to a licensed physician who can prescribe medications immediately, if necessary, without the patient needing to go to a clinic or a hospital emergency room.

Dr. Peter Bornstein, with St. Paul Infectious Disease Associates, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS it’s another useful tool to assist patients in getting the help they need as quickly as possible and not filling up emergency room beds as well.

“Of course, the emergency rooms as people are probably aware, are just overwhelmed right now with patients waiting, and waiting and waiting,” said Bornstein. “So, this sounds like another option for people to get timely care for early COVID.”

Bornstein said there was an increase in COVID cases following Thanksgiving and he expects another increase after Christmas. He says the strain on hospitals is evident.

“For the hospitals, what’s happened is, they’re having trouble getting patients out of the hospital and into transitional care units, or into homecare situations because of staffing,” said Bornstein.  “Because there are just not enough health care people around patients to provide even basic care.”