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White House launches first federally supported 'test to treat' COVID-19 site in R.I.

White House launches first federally supported 'test to treat' COVID-19 site in R.I.
The White House said in its announcement on Thursday that it will also deploy personnel to several state-run sites in Minnesota to transform them into "test to treat" sites. File Photo by Rod Lamkey/UPI | License Photo

May 26 (UPI) -- The White House said Thursday that the first federally-supported COVID-19 "test to treat" site has been launched in Rhode Island, and officials hope more in the coming months will help control infections.

The site, located at a healthcare facility in Providence, immediately treats people who test positive with medical evaluations and oral antivirals.

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The White House said the new location also provides vaccination, meaning that federal support will enhance the site into being a true "one-stop shop."

COVID-19 cases in the United States have risen somewhat over the past two months. In March, cases had dipped to a seven-day average of 26,000. A short time later, that average had risen to more than 100,000.

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U.S. COVID-19 figures, however, are still well off the last significant surge at the start of 2022.

The White House said in its announcement on Thursday that it will also deploy personnel to several state-run sites in Minnesota to transform them into test to treat sites.

"This direct federal support will allow Minnesota to expand the capacity and reach of test to treat, making these lifesaving oral antiviral treatments more widely available statewide," the White House said in a statement.

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President Joe Biden's administration said more federally-supported test to treat sites will open in New York and Illinois in the coming weeks as efforts are made to increase access to oral antivirals like Pfizer's Paxlovid.

"Since Paxlovid was first authorized in December 2021, the administration has moved quickly to ensure that these treatments are widely available and that health care providers and patients know about their availability and efficacy," the White House noted.

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