COVID-19 Test to Treat Services Expand

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

May 20, 2022

COVID-19 treatment is now more widely available for people across San Luis Obispo County who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness. 

The Test to Treat services launched last week at free community testing sites in Grover Beach, Paso Robles, and San Luis Obispo, as well as at Med Plus Dignity Health Urgent Care Centers in Atascadero and Pismo Beach. With these additions, the services are available at 12 sites countywide.

Test to Treat was developed to address the need for quick, lifesaving treatment for those who are age 65 and older or have health conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19. With the Test to Treat model, these sites provide rapid testing, a medical consultation as appropriate, and Paxlovid anti-viral pills, if indicated. Patients who are at high risk for severe illness and test positive but cannot take Paxlovid may be referred for other treatment options such as monoclonal antibodies. Treatment is most effective when started within the first few days of illness, before symptoms become severe.

“If you are 65 or older, please get tested right away if you experience symptoms so that you can get treatment if you need it,” said County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein. “With Paxlovid, treatment needs to be started within five days of the first symptoms.”

Service Sites Countywide 

• SLO County Community Testing Sites (888-634-1123): Grover Beach, Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo.

• BestCare Pharmacy in Arroyo Grande (805-481-1961, Option 1)

• Cambria Drug & Gift (805-927-7283)

• Community Health Centers of the Central Coast (CHC) sites (866-614-4636):

• Med Plus Medical Center Pismo Beach / Dignity Health Urgent Care (805-474-8450)

• Med Plus Atascadero / Dignity Health Urgent Care (805-461-2131)

• Med-Stop Urgent Care in San Luis Obispo (805-549-8880)

Test to Treat hours vary by location. It is a good idea to call ahead to confirm hours and ask any specific questions about cost. Pharmacy and urgent care sites generally charge a fee for testing and medical consultation, and most will bill insurance for this cost. The medication itself, if prescribed, is free of charge.

At community testing sites in Grover Beach, Paso Robles, and San Luis Obispo, all services are provided free of charge for the patient. The sites will collect insurance information but will not bill those who do not have insurance. For Test to Treat services at these community sites, patients may schedule a regular appointment online or by calling 888-634-1123. Walk-ins will be accepted as supplies and staffing allow, generally with more availability in the mornings.

COVID-19 treatment is also available at other pharmacies and clinics in SLO County, by prescription or physician referral. Health officials encourage those who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 to test early and call their doctor if the test is positive. A new online Treatment Locator Tool helps locate treatment options nationwide.

When seeking Test to Treat services at any site, bring a list of any medications you currently take

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