Medications for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19
Plumas County physicians, providers, pharmacists and public health all want to be sure everyone who needs medication for their COVID-19 infection can get it promptly here. If you are having symptoms that might be the first sign of COVID but haven't tested yet, the first thing to do is take a home test to see if it's positive for COVID. Test kits are available at local clinics, pharmacies, and public health. Call inside from your car and they will bring the test kits out to you (as staff available) so you don't expose people inside to COVID.
If the test is positive you can be sure you have COVID-19. If it's negative and you still think you might have COVID-19, repeat the test in 24hr or get a PCR test at one of the testing sites listed below. The medicine for COVID can only be prescribed once you have a positive home test OR a PCR (hospital lab) test.
Once you have a positive test you should call your primary care provider/physician (PCP) right away. Ask them to see you or call you back that same day about possible treatment. If your provider or their office doesn't call back within 24hr, you should call 530-283-6426, 7 days a week, for help from a public health doctor to discuss if you need treatment and how it can be arranged.
Some Plumas County Clinic, Treatment, and Testing Site Phone Numbers:
Eastern Plumas Health Care Portola Clinic
500 1st Avenue
Portola, CA 96122
Plumas District Hospital Clinic
1065 Bucks Lake Road
Quincy, CA 95971
Seneca Healthcare District Clinic
130 Brentwood Drive
Chester, CA 96020
(If you don't have a local PCP but get your primary medical care outside Plumas County, contacting your outside PCP can sometimes get a prescription for COVID-19 medication called right to a local pharmacy.)
It is particularly important that some people receive anti-viral treatment for COVID-19 because they are at real risk of needing to be hospitalized or dying due to COVID. People who are more than 60 years old or are not vaccinated should definitely contact their PCP about treatment. So should those who are more than 30# overweight or have medical problems like diabetes, heart disease, COPD, or immune suppression. To be effective a person needs to start the anti-viral medication within 5 days of their first COVID symptoms.
The following medicines have been shown to be beneficial to people recently infected with COVID-19 and at high risk of requiring hospitalization. This generally includes people who are unvaccinated, older than 60, significantly overweight, or have other medical conditions. People who have had symptoms for more than 5 days or are at normal or low risk are not likely to benefit from these drugs. This is why it is important to get tested right away if you have symptoms and contact your provider if you are positive to ensure you get the treatment you might need.
Paxlovid is an oral antiviral medicine that works really well to reduce the chances of hospitalization or death in higher risk COVID-19 patients. It is available by prescription as 3 pills taken twice a day for 5 days. Side effects are minor but there can be interactions with other medications and other medical issues to consider, so patients need to see a provider to get a prescription and make sure the drug is safe and will work for them. It can be used up to 5 days after first symptoms or positive test.
Molnupiravir is another oral antiviral medicine that works well against COVID-19 but isn't as effective as Paxlovid. It is useful for people who can't take Paxlovid because of interactions with other medications they have to take and who don't qualify for one of the infusions listed below. It is taken as 4 oral capsules twice a day for 5 days. It is contraindicated in pregnant people or those who might become pregnant.
Remdesivir is an intravenous antiviral medicine that has worked well for 2 years to help people hospitalized with COVID-19. It has now been shown to be even more effective when given as an outpatient IV infusion on three successive days to high risk COVID-19 patients who don't yet need hospitalization. The chances of being hospitalized or dying are reduced 87% (from 5.3% to 0.7%) in these people. It's useful for those who don’t have other options for one reason or another.
Bebtelovimab is the latest monoclonal antibody treatment and is very effective against the current BA.2, BA.4, and BA.5 omicron variants of the coronavirus which are now dominant. It requires an IV injection at a hospital followed by an hour of observation.
Plumas County Public Health continues to work with physicians and pharmacists throughout the county to assure prompt and precise medical treatment for people who are newly diagnosed with COVID-19.
Check out CDC's website for further information on possible treatments here.
Check out CDPH's website for further information on possible treatments here.
Medicines that are not recommended
Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine are older drugs that are used primarily against malaria. Both have been found to have anti-viral action in laboratory experiments. However, in randomized clinical trials, neither drug was effective in preventing infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19. Other well-conducted studies found that neither chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine provided any clinical benefit to patients with Covid-19. The National Institutes of Health recommends against the use of hydroxychloroquine for preventing Covid-19 and against the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for treating Covid-19. Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are not approved by the FDA for treatment of Covid-19 and the Emergency Use Authorization issued in 2020 has been revoked. For more information (and sources) click here and/or here.
Ivermectin is an existing drug that is used primarily to treat parasitic worm infections in animals and humans. High concentrations of ivermectin have shown anti-viral properties in laboratory experiments, but the doses needed to achieve those levels in humans would be far higher than for currently approved uses of the drug. Early studies evaluating the use of ivermectin for treating COVID-19 showed mixed results, but all of them were relatively small and most had major scientific weaknesses. The data were later found to be falsified in the largest study that showed beneficial effects of ivermectin. A recent re-analysis of the results that did not include the fraudulent study found that ivermectin had no significant benefit. The National Institutes of Health determined that there is not enough scientific evidence at this time to recommend for or against treating Covid-19 with ivermectin. More high-quality studies are needed to determine whether ivermectin is effective against Covid-19. Ivermectin is not approved by the FDA for treatment of Covid-19 or any other viral disease.
Bamlanivimab plus etesevimab and casirivimab plus imdevimab (brand name RegenCov). These monoclonal antibody treatments were used successfully to treat patients infected with the original strain of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and some later variants, but are not effective against the omicron variant of the virus. The National Institutes of Health now recommends against using bamlanivimab plus etesevimab or casirivimab plus imdevimab (RegenCov) to treat Covid-19 and they haven't been used recently in Plumas County.
Vitamin and mineral supplements
Vitamins and minerals are available without a prescription as dietary supplements. They are inexpensive and safe if taken as directed on the label. Vitamin C, Vitamin D and zinc have been evaluated for prevention of COVID-19, but there are no randomized clinical trials showing value to any of these supplements to prevent or treat COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health have concluded that there is not enough information at this time to recommend for or against the use of vitamins or minerals to for COVID-19. Further studies to evaluate their effectiveness are in progress.