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On Wednesday afternoon, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) issued two public health orders (PHO). The 16th Amended Public Health Order 20-38 follows CDC’s statement that the federal order requiring masks on public transportation conveyances and at transportation hubs is no longer in effect. As such, Public Health Order 20-38 no longer requires masks to be worn on public transit services in Colorado. CDC continues however to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings.

Public Health Order 22-01 promotes sustainable access to COVID-19 testing for all Coloradans and therapeutic treatment for COVID-19 patients. It requires health care providers do all they can to provide testing and therapeutic treatment. This Order comes as the state continues to transition COVID-19 testing and vaccination to traditional health care settings as laid out in the State’s Roadmap to Moving Forward and it will help ensure that equity and accessibility continue to be prioritized.

To help maintain access to testing services throughout the state, providers that do not use testing materials provided by the State are encouraged to provide testing services and, whenever possible, to do so at no cost to individuals without health insurance or who can otherwise not afford testing. Providers of COVID-19 testing services that use test materials provided at no cost by the State cannot charge a fee to the patient for the COVID-19 test.

Any patient eligible for a COVID-19 therapeutics should be offered the treatment for COVID-19 after a discussion with a health care provider about the risks and benefits. Health care providers are encouraged to provide COVID-19 therapeutics immediately within their health care setting on an outpatient basis, or if unable to do so, the provider must refer patients who are appropriate candidates for such therapeutics to outpatient settings. People seeking COVID-19 therapeutic treatment can visit this CDPHE webpage to learn more. Health care providers interested in ordering therapeutics to prescribe for patients should use this form.

PHO 22-01 is effective April 20, 2022 and will continue to be in effect until the Colorado COVID-19 Disaster Recovery Order (Executive Order D 2021 122) is rescinded. The 16th Amended Public Health Order 20-38 is effective April 20, 2022 and will expire at 12:01 a.m. on May 20, 2022 unless extended.

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Featured image: Young children under age five, still don’t have an approved vaccine available, making access to testing important. Image courtesy of NBC News.