At a couple of points over the past year as the country (and the world) struggled with the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been brief moments of triumph. One was when tests became widely available. Another was when the first vaccines were approved. Those moments were also marked with the disappointment that urgent care was not looked at as part of the solution, in either case. Now that urgent care centers are, for the most part, well-supplied with testing supplies could the arrival of an antiviral treatment for SARS-CoV-2 make urgent care centers a destination of choice for patients who are seeking a test—followed by a prescription, if needed? We may get to find out soon. Efficacy and safety studies of a new 5-day course, twice-daily drug called molnupiravir are underway as we speak. No special handling is required, so assuming there’s adequate supply pharmacies should have no stocking issues. In the ideal scenario, an urgent care center could test a patient for COVID-19, then either vaccinate patients with a negative result or issue a prescription to those who test positive. This all depends on availability of every component in that process, but if all the lobbying urgent care has been doing over the past few months to educate legislators and the public on its capabilities pays off, this could be the dawn of a new day for our industry and for public health.
Could Urgent Care Fill a Critical Void as a One-Stop Shop for COVID-19 Testing, Vaccination, and Treatment?