Starting Monday, high-risk Coloradans infected with COVID-19 will be able to more easily access treatment to keep them out of the hospital, Gov. Jared Polis announced Friday.
Now, Coloradans can self-refer — meaning they don't need a health care provider to sign off first — to receive monoclonal antibodies. Polis has repeatedly pushed the treatment in recent weeks as a way to get ahead of hospitalizations, which continue to increase. The treatment, which comes in the form of an intravenous infusion, has been proven to significantly reduce the chances of hospitalization for newly symptomatic and high-risk COVID-19 patients.
The order allowing for self-referral also requires all antibody providers in the state to "take all necessary steps to provide all eligible Coloradans access to life-saving monoclonal antibody therapies." The treatment can be delivered in an outpatient setting, and Polis has said the state is dispatching a small fleet of mobile antibody clinics statewide. Several have already arrived, with more coming.
Though supply has been limited for much of the pandemic, the governor said Friday there's plenty available for the state to broaden its program.
In order to self-refer, which will become available Monday, Coloradans with a positive test can call 1-877-268-2926 to check eligibility and appointment scheduling. More information can also be found on a state website for the treatment.
In addition to having symptoms and being positive for COVID-19, to qualify for monoclonal antibodies under U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guidelines, a person must:
- be an adult or at least 12 years old and weighing more than 87 pounds
- have experienced your first symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 10 days
- are at high risk for having more serious symptoms of COVID-19 and/or going into the hospital
Risk factors include age, obesity, diabetes, a disease or medication that weakens your immune system, and lung or cardiac conditions, among others.
Correction: The number to call the state health department for more information is 877-268-2926. A previous version of this article misstated the phone number.