COVID-19 treatments are free, widely available, and very effective. Treatments work best when taken within 5-7 days of when symptoms begin, so act quickly. Get a COVID-19 test and seek COVID-19 treatment if you think you may have COVID-19.
How to find treatment
- Contact your doctor or insurance provider for an appointment. Video or phone appointments are fine.
- Find a Test-to-Treat location near you. These sites can prescribe COVID-19 medicines. To find a site, call the statewide COVID-19 hotline at 833-422-4255 or use the COVID-19 Test to Treat Locator.
- Some pharmacies may be able to give you a prescription for treatment. Call your pharmacy to see if they offer this service.
- If you don’t have insurance or the options above don’t work:
Act quickly. COVID-19 treatments work best when started within the first 5-7 days of symptoms. Medicines are free regardless of insurance or citizenship status, but you must get a prescription.
Note: If you are not able to get a prescription from your doctor, but think you should be eligible for treatment, click here or call 833-686-5051 to make a phone or video appointment with California’s free COVID-19 provider. You can also show your doctor CDPH’s recommendations on treatment.
Facts about COVID-19 treatment
- Treatments are safe and very effective at preventing serious illness.*
- Treatments can help you to test negative sooner, and may reduce the risk of long COVID symptoms.*
- Treatments work best when started as soon as possible. Don’t wait for symptoms to get worse.
- COVID-19 treatments are free in California. You don’t need to have insurance or be a US citizen.
- Most COVID-19 treatments are pills that you take at home.
- You must have COVID-19 symptoms and have a positive COVID-19 test. Use an at-home test or learn how to get tested.
- Most adults should get COVID-19 treatments because they are at higher risk of severe COVID-19. This includes people who:
- Are over 50 years old or older –OR–
- Are unvaccinated for COVID-19 –OR–
- Are over 12 years old with conditions that increase risk. These include obesity, asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, lack of physical activity, smoking, and mental health conditions such as depression. Learn more about medical conditions that increase the risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
* Scientific evidence shows treatments reduce the risk of serious illness from COVID-19. The Paxlovid pill can reduce the risk of death or hospitalization from COVID-19 by up to 88%. Early evidence also suggests COVID-19 treatment may decrease the risk of developing long COVID symptoms, which are symptoms and medical issues that can last for weeks, months, or years after a COVID-19 infection.
When to get treatment
- COVID-19 treatment must be taken within 5-7 days of when symptoms begin.
- If you have COVID-19 symptoms, use an at-home test or learn how to get tested.
- If you have severe COVID-19 symptoms including trouble breathing, chest pain, confusion, or trouble staying awake, go to the emergency room or call 911 right away.
If you have a positive COVID-19 test
Get treatment right away. Do not wait for symptoms to get worse.
You must have a positive COVID-19 test result to get treatments. This does not have to be a lab test. At-home test results are OK.
Stay home and isolate to prevent spreading the disease to others. Even if you are vaccinated or had COVID-19 before, you should isolate for at least 5 full days. Learn about isolation guidelines.
If your test is negative but you continue to have symptoms
Test again 24-48 hours later. Low amounts of virus early in infection can be missed, and the test can be positive a few days later.
More information about COVID-19 treatment
For more information about COVID-19 treatments and help with finding treatment, call the statewide COVID-19 hotline at 833-422-4255.
The statewide call center is open 7 days a week:
- Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM Pacific Time
- Saturday and Sunday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific Time
Learn more about COVID-19 treatment:
- CDPH: Top 5 Tips to Prevent Winter Viruses Fact Sheet
- CDPH: COVID-19 Treatments Communications Tools
- CDPH: COVID-19 Treatment Resources for Healthcare Providers
- FDA: Know Your Treatment Options for COVID-19