(WWLP) – The Baker Administration announced Wednesday a new free telehealth service aimed at connecting COVID-positive people with treatments they need.

Through this new program, residents 18 and older who test positive can have a virtual consultation with a clinician, who will help determine if they are eligible for Paxlovid, a symptom-treating pill.

22News has reported before on Paxlovid’s low record of use despite a large supply. The program is free and doesn’t require health insurance.

“Paxlovid has been shown to be highly effective in treating COVID-19 and can prevent patients from getting seriously ill,” said Dr. Larry Madoff, Medical Director in the Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. “This treatment must be started within 5 days of symptoms, so it is essential to speak with a clinician right away. This new telehealth option makes it easier for residents to connect quickly with a clinician and we encourage individuals who test positive to utilize it.”

The visit consists of a short health intake survey and if necessary a video consultation with a health care clinician. During the visit, the clinician reviews symptoms and risk factors and determines if Paxlovid treatment is necessary. If needed, the clinician will send the prescription to the patient’s local pharmacy or provide free overnight delivery.

Paxlovid is intended for people 12 and older with mild or moderate COVID-18 symptoms and are at a higher risk for severe COVID-19. The prescription lowers the risk for severe disease and hospitalization by nearly 90 percent, according to the state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

“Fortunately, we have reached a point in the pandemic where the tools to stay safe and healthy are much more widely available. Those include vaccines first and foremost,” said Dr. Shira Doron, Infectious Disease Physician, Hospital Epidemiologist, Tufts Medical Center. “But now anyone who gets COVID and has even a single risk factor can and should also avail themselves of one of several highly effective treatments, including two oral antiviral medications, of which there is plentiful supply. It is important for the public to know that these treatments are safe and effective at reducing your risk of progressing to severe COVID-19.”