New Mexicans at risk of severe disease encouraged to seek treatment early

SANTA FE – The Department of Health reminds New Mexicans that COVID-19 treatments are available and can be accessed at many pharmacies, clinics and health systems across the state. These treatments are highly effective at preventing severe illness, and reducing hospitalization and death from COVID-19, but must be taken within days of the first symptom to be most effective.

Not everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 needs to take medication. People who are at higher risk for severe illness are most likely to benefit from treatment, even if they have mild symptoms. People can be high risk for many reasons. Some of the most common risk factors are: being age 65 and older; obesity; having chronic medical conditions such as heart, lung, kidney disease or diabetes; being on treatment that suppresses your immune system; and pregnancy. To find a full list of factors that may put someone at higher risk, visit CDC: People with Certain Medical Conditions.

“Early testing and oral treatment taken within 5 days of the first symptoms of COVID-19 for those who have even one risk factor means being able to be treated in the comfort of your own home versus hospitalization,” said David R. Scrase, M.D. acting secretary for the New Mexico Department of Health. “Testing, staying up-to-date on vaccinations, COVID oral treatments and masking are the most powerful tools that we have at our disposal, to decrease the impact of COVID-19 in our community, as New Mexicans gear up to celebrate long-awaited weddings, graduations, and summer vacations.” 

If you are at higher risk, get tested 3-5 days after being in contact with a person who has COVID-19 or if you develop symptoms and talk to a healthcare provider right away. To be effective, treatment should begin as soon as possible after symptoms start or you test positive. It is important for a provider to review your medical conditions and current medications to determine which treatment is right for you as some COVID-19 treatments may interact with some medications.

To find a provider or find a participating pharmacy where you can fill your prescription, visit the links below:

Important tools to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in your community include vaccines and boosters, washing hands often, getting tested if you are sick or are exposed to someone with COVID-19, and staying home when you are sick. In addition, it is important to follow the CDC COVID-19 community level in your area, use well-fitting high-quality masks when needed or based on personal preference, and follow other public health guidance.