Protect Your Health
Am I at high risk of developing severe illness?
Some people are at higher risk for more severe illness from COVID-19 [Español].This includes adults aged 50 and older, people of any age with certain chronic health conditions, people who live in congregate settings, and people with a weakened immune system. Severe illness from COVID-19 means that you may need to be hospitalized, may need intensive care, may need a ventilator to help you breathe, or may die as a result of the infection.
How do I access these treatments and what do they cost?
If you think you may be at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and you have a positive COVID-19 test, you should talk with your healthcare provider right away. If you are told that treatment is needed, you will need to get a prescription. These treatments help most when they are started early – so don’t delay, and see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
If you are told you need treatment for COVID-19, you can search the COVID-19 treatments locator to find the nearest treatment site, or your healthcare provider can advise you where you can fill your prescription. An online website shows where you can find COVID-19 medication. If you are interested in having a medical evaluation over a computer or smartphone, please contact your health insurance company to see if this is an option. More information about telehealth is available on this government website.
A medical evaluation for COVID-19 is often covered by insurance, including Medicare. People who are under or uninsured can call their local health department to locate a nearby Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) or Free Clinic in order to obtain a medical evaluation. This federal government website also shows where federally funded health centers are located.
Most of the treatments for COVID-19 are free, but you may be responsible for a co-pay or a fee at the location where you receive the treatment if it needs to be given by an infusion. You will not be responsible for any fees from a pharmacy if receiving tablets or capsules for the treatment of COVID-19. More information about possible fees associated with COVID-19 treatments can be found in the table below.
Treatments for people with mild to moderate COVID-19
Most people with mild or moderate COVID-19 can recover using at-home symptomatic treatments (like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin)). People with COVID-19 who are at increased-risk for severe illness may benefit from treatments prescribed by a health care provider.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms and are at increased-risk of severe illness, you should contact your healthcare provider right away regardless of how mild your symptoms are. You will need to be tested promptly to see if you have COVID-19. If you have the illness, you should talk with your healthcare provider right away about treatments that may be right for you. Treatment of COVID-19 taken early (as soon as possible after symptoms start) may slow down or stop the illness from getting worse. This may prevent people from needing to be in the hospital and even dying from COVID-19.
Summary Table of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Authorized or Approved Treatments for COVID-19 in Increased-Risk Patients.
*The federal government has purchased supplies of certain COVID-19 medications and is distributing them free of charge. This means patients do not have to pay for the medication itself, but there may be other fees associated with getting the treatment that a person or an insurance company would need to pay.
There are other COVID-19 treatments that are not being distributed for free by the government and are available commercially (similar to other types of medication). This means you may pay for the medication as well as fees associated with getting the treatment. Health insurance may cover a portion of these costs.
Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have questions about costs associated with receiving a certain treatment.
Treatments for hospitalized COVID-19 patients
There are also treatments available for people who are in the hospital with severe illness from COVID-19. You can find more information about treatments for hospitalized patients on the FDA webpage [Español ].
What if I’m not at increased-risk for severe illness?
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and you are not at increased-risk for severe illness, your healthcare provider may recommend other treatments to help you feel better and help your body fight the virus. Some examples of things to consider include:
- Drinking plenty of liquids with no caffeine to stay hydrated
- Getting plenty of rest
- Take medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) may help to reduce fever
Note: at this time, if you are NOT at increased-risk of severe COVID-19, you would not need medications including Paxlovid, Veklury, and/or Lagevrio
Benefits of vaccination compared to treatments
Vaccination remains the most important tool to control the spread of and prevent COVID-19. Vaccines are free, safe, and widely available to everyone aged 6 months and older. Vaccines have been shown to be effective against newer variants of COVID-19, including Omicron. To learn more about COVID-19 vaccination, visit the VDH COVID-19 Vaccination Website.
Monoclonal Antibodies for Treatment or Prevention of COVID-19
Currently, there are no monoclonal antibody therapies (e.g., Bamlanivimab/Etesevimab, REGEN-COV, Sotrovimab, Bebtelovimab) that are effective for the treatment of COVID-19 in patients who have the illness and are at increased risk of having a severe case. These drugs are not effective against the Omicron variant and FDA revoked their Emergency Use Authorizations months ago. In addition, in January 2023, FDA revoked the Emergency Use Authorization for the drug EVUSHELD. EVUSHELD was a drug meant to prevent COVID-19 in patients at increased risk of severe illness. This drug is also not effective against the Omicron variant.
Resources for more information:
Information for the general public
General Information about COVID-19 Treatments:
- CDC COVID-19 Treatments and Medications [Spanish]
- HHS COVID-19 Treatment Information for Patients
- VDH COVID-19 Rebound (PDF, 233 KB)
- FDA: Know Your Treatment Options
Resources about specific COVID-19 therapeutics currently authorized or approved by the FDA:
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Date last Updated: August 21, 2023