Colorado issues amended public health order for monoclonal antibody therapy access

Posted at 2:52 PM, Nov 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-24 20:25:31-05

CENTENNIAL, Colo. — A standing order that would expand access to monoclonal antibody treatment has been released after Gov. Jared Polis announced the upcoming change during a press conference Friday.

Under the order, Coloradans would be allowed to refer themselves for such treatment. Currently, Coloradans must be referred for monoclonal antibody treatment by a doctor or health care provider.

By Friday evening, the amended public health order was released requiring all providers to do all they can to provide therapies like monoclonal antibody treatment.

"When we succeed at implementing increased use of monoclonal antibodies, it will reduce the strain on our hospitals and significantly reduce the likelihood that Colorado will breach hospital capacity," the governor said.

In an effort to preserve hospital beds, the public health order requires all health care providers, like hospitals, urgent care clinics and free standing
emergency departments, to "take all necessary steps" to provide all eligible Coloradans access to monoclonal antibody therapies. They're also encouraged to provide the monoclonal antibody therapies in outpatient settings.

People are considered eligible for receiving the treatment if they are:

  • At a high risk for developing severe COVID-19,
  • Positive with COVID-19 test and have not been admitted to the hospital
  • Are at least 18 years old or 12-17 years of age and weigh at least 88 pounds.

Someone is also eligible prior to testing positive for COVID-19 if they have been exposed to the virus and meet the rest of the above criteria as well as if they're not fully vaccinated or vaccinated but immunocompromised.

Providers approved for enrollment in the Monoclonal Antibody Therapy Program through the Colorado Department of Health and Environment are also required to to submit weekly electronic reporting on their administration of monoclonal antibody therapies to the state.

On Tuesday, Dr. Eric France, the state's chief medical officer, signed a standing order in conjunction with the above order, which allows eligible individuals to access monoclonal antibody treatments at state-run treatment sites without a referral. The goal is to remove barriers to access and increase treatment options for patients during the current rise in cases and hospitalizations.

Eligible patients can access treatments at the state’s mobile monoclonal antibody treatment sites. Appointments are required.

As of Friday, 1,518 people are hospitalized with COVID-19. That is 20% of the state's total hospital capacity, according to Polis.

Out of the 1,518 people hospitalized, 1,244 are unvaccinated while 274 are vaccinated.

The governor urged Coloradans to get vaccinated ahead of the holidays. He also encouraged those who were vaccinated six months ago or longer to get a booster.

"Thanksgiving dinner will be a lot more enjoyable with additional protection," Polis said.

The governor did not mention a statewide mask mandate. However, when asked about local governments mandating masks or vaccine requirements, Polis said he supported such decisions.

"We strongly support local governments taking the steps they need to protect members of their public, and that's an important discussion for local public health agencies to have," he said.