Wisconsin Combats Possible Winter Covid Spike; New Telehealth Program
Winter weather is bringing with it the increased risk of flu and with it the spread of our least favorite 2020 word; Covid. In Wisconsin, the DHS is looking to “get ahead” of the possible upcoming surge in cases with a new program.
According to a press release from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, they have just launched a new telehealth program that’s goal is providing state residents free access to prescription COVID-19 antiviral pills in a timely matter to boost effectiveness. By prescribing the medications to eligible patients online or over the phone, officials at the state Department of Health Services have said they'll be able to get the antivirals more easily into the hands of people who otherwise may not be able to access them, especially the underserved, elderly or shut-in.
Patients must be at high risk of developing severe COVID-19, and older than 18 to use the telehealth service. According to the release;
“(those eligible who) test positive for COVID-19 can have a telehealth consultation with a health care clinician within 5-30 minutes. If eligible, a clinician will prescribe an oral antiviral pill that reduces the risk for severe symptoms, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. The prescription can be filled at over 600 pharmacies in the state. Insurance is not required. Those without pharmacy access can have their medicine shipped overnight.”
There are two types of anti-viral pills currently available that treat COVID-19: Paxlovid, created by Pfizer, and Molnupiravir (or Lagevrio), made by Merck. These pills are taken twice a day for five days. Paxlovid was shown to be 90% effective at preventing severe illness. Molnupiravir was shown to be less effective.
Wisconsin still tracks data related to Covid which can be found here. Before making your telehealth call make sure you have a list of medications, supplements, or vitamins you're taking and a copy of your lab results within the last three months if you have kidney disease. Wisconsin DHS also states:
"Telehealth doctors are available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. Call 833-273-6330 or visit https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/telehealth.htm to set up an appointment."