This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scientist was preparing to test a patient’s sample for SARS-CoV-2, using the CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)–PCR Diagnostic Panel. (James Gathany/CDC 2020)

Contra Costa County is opening four COVID-19 testing sites this week that will also make prescription medication available for those who test positive, the county said Wednesday.

The ‘test to treat’ sites in Antioch, Brentwood, San Pablo and Pleasant Hill are located at testing sites operated by OptumServe Federal Health Services and had only offered COVID testing services until this week.

People who test positive at one of the four locations will consult with a physician who, if they determine it is medically necessary, will prescribe antiviral medication like Paxlovid or Molnupiravir that can reduce the chance of becoming seriously ill.

Both medications must be taken within five days of the start of symptoms to be effective and are available to everyone age 12 and up regardless of vaccination status.

“These additional test to treat locations, most of which are in areas hardest hit by the pandemic, will provide a big boost to our efforts to eliminate preventable deaths from COVID in Contra Costa County,” county Health Director Anna Roth said.

The county has three other test to treat locations in Walnut Creek and San Ramon, but all three are located at CVS pharmacies.

Last week, state officials said they plan to work with OptumServe to launch nearly 150 test and treat sites across the state.

“Supplies of these drugs are plentiful right now,” said Dr. Sofe Mekuria, the county’s deputy health officer. “That’s why we have been encouraging doctors to more liberally prescribe these medications, which are incredibly effective tools in our fight against severe disease from COVID.”

Information about COVID testing, vaccination and treatments in Contra Costa County can be found at https://www.coronavirus.cchealth.org.