NEW YORK — A fleet of mobile testing sites rolling out across the city will provide New Yorkers with COVID-19 “instant access” to free antiviral medications, officials said Thursday.
The city is opening more than 30 mobile “Test to Treat” sites this summer that will offer rapid COVID-19 testing, Mayor Eric Adams and city health officials announced at a news briefing.
Each of the units will have an on-site clinician who will be able to write prescriptions for the antiviral drug Paxlovid, NYC Test & Trace Corps’s executive director, Dr. Ted Long, said at the briefing.
Some of the units will collaborate with local pharmacies to fill the prescriptions, while others will dole out Paxlovid directly, Long said.
“This new, first-of-its-kind mobile test-to-treat model is the future, and it’s how we’re going to help our city to continue to recover together,” he said.
The units will allow the city to “pinpoint the areas that need the support immediately,” making access to treatment more equitable, Adams said.
“COVID may still be a fact of life, but it doesn’t have to be the cause of death, and that is what we will continue to say,” Adams said. “It is preventable, it is treatable, and caught early, that treatment is really part of what’s keeping us moving forward in the right direction.”
The three initial mobile testing units will partner with and be set up outside of Inwood Pharmacy in Inwood, Burke Avenue Pharmacy near the Gun Hill Houses in the Bronx and Rex Pharmacy in South Ozone Park in Queens, the mayor said in a press release.
The clinicians will only prescribe Paxlovid to patients who are “eligible” and “safe to take” it, Long said.
Paxlovid is generally prescribed for those who have tested positive and are “at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death,” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
New York City, Adams said, is “leading the way in prevention and mitigation” by rolling out the mobile units.
“This new public health service will help all New Yorkers get access to life-saving treatments,” he said.