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State launches free hotline for those who get COVID but don’t have a doctor

  • / Updated:
  • Josh Durso 

The state has announced a new initiative to help those who test positive for COVID-19 find the resources they need.

Governor Kathy Hochul announced the launch of a new, free hotline for those who test positive for COVID. It’s aimed at helping those who don’t have a health care provider.

The Hotline, 888-TREAT-NY, was launched by the New York State Department of Health after reaching an agreement to utilize the Virtual ExpressCare platform operated by NYC Health + Hospitals.

“We’ve made real progress in our fight against COVID-19, but as new variants continue to spread it’s important to continue to adapt and expand our efforts to protect New Yorkers,” Governor Hochul said. “Our new COVID-19 treatment hotline will provide New Yorkers with better access to early treatments that help prevent severe illness.”

Despite infection numbers not being what they were months ago, the virus is still a major concern for New Yorkers.

“This new hotline is a much-needed resources for underserved families who may not have immediate access to healthcare professionals,” said Lieutenant Governor Delgado. “As new strains of COVID continue to attack our more vulnerable communities, it is critical that we use all resources available to us to continue to fight this virus. The hotline is crucial to ensuring those who have difficulty leaving their home to access healthcare get the help they need.”

The Hotline is available 24-hours per day, seven days a week and operated by experienced Health + Hospitals professionals who have the clinical training to prescribe treatment and referrals if needed. The ExpressCare platform is a service that allows New Yorkers to receive virtual care from a NYC Health + Hospitals provider.

The telemedicine visit will include a clinical assessment by medical providers who will identify the appropriate COVID-19 treatment plan, which may include a prescription for Paxlovid or Molnupiravir. These oral antiviral medications have both been proven to decrease hospitalization for those that are at risk for severe disease. When given soon after positive COVID-19 diagnosis these antivirals also help fight infection and shorten recovery time.

“Every New Yorker should have access to the latest COVID-19 therapeutics regardless of whether they have a regular health care provider. Thanks to the Department’s agreement with NYC Health + Hospitals, our new COVID-19 treatment hotline at 888-TREAT-NY is another tool to reduce the barriers to treatment and will help ensure traditionally underserved communities have access to the same care as other New Yorkers,” Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett added.

As all treatments require a prescription, those who test COVID-19 positive should talk to their provider or call 888-TREAT-NY to determine what treatment is best for them. New York State is assigned a weekly allotment of both Paxlovid and Molnupiravir from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.