COVID-19: Healthcare Providers

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COVID-19 Vaccines

Vaccination remains the best way to prevent COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death. Vaccination is the best way to prevent infection and severe disease. Everyone age 6 months or older should get one dose of the updated (bivalent) vaccine. People with immunocompromising conditions, including those who take certain immunosuppressive medications, are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 and may get one or more additional doses of the updated (bivalent) vaccine.

COVID-19 Treatments

Outpatient treatment can reduce the risk of progressing from mild COVID-19 illness to severe disease, hospitalization, and death. Oral and intravenous treatments are available for persons who have COVID-19 symptoms, a positive test (PCR or antigen, including at-home antigen tests), and one or more risk factors for severe disease, including:

Some people from racial and ethnic minority groups are at risk of being disproportionately affected by COVID-19 from many factors, including limited access to vaccines and healthcare. Clinicians should also consider these factors when evaluating the risk for severe COVID-19 and use of outpatient treatment.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized or approved several COVID-19 therapies for certain patients. Several medications are now available under FDA Emergency Use Authorization. Note that eligibility is set by the FDA and off-label prescribing is not allowed for drugs available under EUA.

  • Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir/ritonavir) (PO) is a 5-day oral therapy, available for individuals 12+ years old at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, that should be started within 0–5 days after COVID-19 symptoms begin. It is the treatment of choice for non-hospitalized patients per NIH guidelines. The PAXLOVID Patient Eligibility Screening Checklist Tool for Prescribers can help clinicians navigate drug-drug interactions.
  • Veklury (remdesivir) (IV) is a 3-day intravenous therapy, available for individuals 28 days old and older at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, that should be started within 0–7 days after COVID-19 symptoms begin. It is the best option for patients who are unable to get Paxlovid due to drug-drug interaction. However, it requires insurance coverage and is only available at selected facilities in Maine, primarily for patients under 12 years old. Consider using for patients who are hospitalized for a non-COVID-19 cause if Paxlovid is not available or they lack oral access.
  • Lagevrio (molnupiravir) (PO) is a 5-day oral therapy, available for individuals 18+ years old at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19. Best pick for patients unable to get Paxlovid due to drug-drug interaction or severe kidney or liver disease, who do NOT have access to an IV infusion site (for Veklury). This medication may have lower effectiveness than the other three therapies.

No COVID-19 treatments are available for persons exposed to COVID-19 who have not tested positive (i.e., post-exposure prophylaxis), persons with asymptomatic COVID-19 infection, or persons with mild or moderate COVID-19 symptoms and a positive test who are not at high risk for severe disease. Please also note that monoclonal antibody therapies previously available for post-exposure prophylaxis or treatment are no longer available due to poor effectiveness for current variants.

Refer to COVID Treatment in Maine for pharmacies where patients can fill prescriptions for oral drugs and Test-to-Treat sites (e.g., hospitals, clinics, urgent care centers, and pharmacies) where patients can get tested, seen by a clinician, and treated with oral and IV drugs. Some locations offer telemedicine and/or home delivery services.

Patient information for COVID-19 treatment is also available at COVID Treatment in Maine.

Please continue to encourage patients at high risk for severe disease to test early and treat within the first few days after symptom onset, even if symptoms are mild. Many people with COVID-19 are at high risk for severe disease and can get treated, yet they do not learn about treatment options in time, or they encounter problems obtaining a prescription within the recommended timeframe. To aid in sharing information with patients about the availability of treatment, we created simple graphics that you can print, post, and give to patients. Download and print Don't Delay: Test Early, Treat Early (PNG) and Don't Delay: Who Is Considered High Risk? (PNG) to post and hand out to patients.

COVID-19 Treatment in Maine: A Primer for Prescribers (free video training modules): Maine CDC, in collaboration with healthcare partners, has developed a series of videos covering basic information about who to treat for COVID-19, available drugs, how to select the right drug for your patient, and how to access treatments in Maine, with several case-based examples of common clinical scenarios. These are aimed at healthcare providers who are not yet familiar with the outpatient treatment of COVID-19, and are now available for free as videos on YouTube, with accompanying slides (PDF).

Additional resources:

Long COVID Resources for Clinicians

The following resources are available for Maine clinicians seeking information about Long COVID:

Standing Order for SARS-CoV-2 Testing

On January 14, 2022, Maine CDC issued a revised Standing Order (“Order”) that authorizes any health care provider or other trained personnel at a health care facility or medically-supervised COVID-19 collection site (collectively, “collection site”) in the state to collect and submit for laboratory analysis specimens to be tested using a SARS-CoV-2 PCR molecular or antigen test for any individual in accordance with the conditions of the Order. Read the Standing Order (PDF).

The Order is not meant to replace existing patient-provider relationships or provider-laboratory relationships.

The Order also authorizes the collection site that submitted the specimen for SARS-CoV-2 molecular or antigen testing under this Order to receive the results of the test directly from the testing laboratory. This Order further authorizes the laboratory that performed the molecular or antigen test for SARS-CoV-2 to provide test results directly to the individual who was tested, with the individual’s consent.

COVID-19 Testing at Maine's Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory (HETL)

Maine's Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory (HETL) will no longer process routine COVID-19 samples received after December 28, 2022. Maine CDC encourages facilities to secure alternative COVID-19 laboratory testing options to avoid potential interruption to testing prior to December 28, 2022.

Maine CDC recommends following the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) Guidelines on the Diagnosis of COVID-19. Read the IDSA Guidelines.

Maine CDC Point of Care (POC) Test Reporting

Maine CDC requests that all providers using Point of Care (POC) tests report results through the REDCap online reporting system. For information on how to register and report, visit Maine CDC Point of Care Test Reporting (PDF)

All positive results must be reported to Maine CDC using REDCap.

Popular Resources

Health Alert Network (HAN) Advisories

Access all Maine CDC Health Alert Network Advisories here.

The MaineHAN is a secure, web-based communication system used by Maine CDC and its partners to exchange information within and between their respective agencies. Physicians, nurses, hospital staff, emergency preparedness and mangement personal, first responders, and other public health workers are encouraged to sign up.