As pandemic intensifies, Colorado expands access to monoclonal antibody treatment

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CENTENNIAL | Starting Monday, Coloradans will be able to call a state hotline to see if they qualify for monoclonal antibody treatment without having to go through a local healthcare provider.

Increasing access to the treatment is one of the ways the state is attempting to curb the spread of the virus as hospital capacity continues to shrink. 

Coloradans who have mild COVID-19 symptoms and are at high risk of severe illness are eligible to receive free monoclonal antibody therapy. Beginning on the 22nd, Coloradans can call (800)-268-2926 to see if they qualify and get connected to treatment. More information is available online at covid19.colorado.gov/for-coloradans/covid-19-treatments.

On Thursday, only 75 ICU beds were open statewide. Speaking from the emergency operations center in Centennial, Gov. Jared Polis said that 500 additional hospital beds will be brought online within 20 days to help with capacity issues.

Currently, 1,518 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, 20% of the states’ entire hospital capacity. Of those, 274 are vaccinated. 

“If you don’t protect yourself and get vaccinated you could very well become one of those in short order due to the prevalence of the virus,” Polis said.

He once again encouraged people to get vaccinated if they have not done so already, noting that since the delta variant of the virus arrived in Colorado zero vaccinated people under 40 have died of COVID-19, while “dozens” of unvaccinated people in that age range have succumbed.

“Not only do you protect yourself” by getting vaccinated, Polis said, “but you also will help end this pandemic.”

He declined to pass any more statewide public health orders, but said that he fully supports local public health departments making whatever decisions they feel like are necessary to protect their communities.

After weeks of pressure from some local health department officials to impose new statewide restrictions, including mask mandates and proof of vaccine requirements, Polis struck a collegial tone, asking state officials and residents to back off a growing divisive and accusatory tone with one another.

Polis said county and health officials pushing against restrictions “aren’t trying to kill people.” He added that officials pushing hard for additional restrictions aren’t trying to rob people of any kind of rights or freedoms. “They’re trying to reduce the spread of disease.” 

Polis also briefly addressed a shooting of two students outside Hinkley High School that took place right before the press conference started, the second shooting in Aurora this week.

“As a state we need to redouble our efforts to reduce youth violence and improve public safety,” he said. “We pray for the recovery of the two individuals who were transported to the hospital.”

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