BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) — The state’s main hotline for COVID-19 information, 211, has answered a record-breaking number of calls about COVID-19.
“We were activated on March 12. By 7 p.m. March 29, our call centers had answered 27,391 phone calls,” said Sarah Berthelot, Louisiana Association of United Way President and CEO who serves as Louisiana 211 director of disaster response during statewide activations. “Our 211 call specialists are in a unique position to help people during these unprecedented times because we help people in vulnerable positions across the state every day.”
All citizens of Louisiana should call 211 (or text the keyword LACOVID 898211) for answers to questions they have related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. John Bel Edwards encourages citizens to call 211 with questions. A directive to call 211 with question tops the list of resources on the governor’s website and heads his Facebook page.
Berthelot said the 211 call specialists have done an outstanding job connecting callers seeking answers with resources and information available demonstrating a strong commitment to provide the public answers to questions they are asking in real-time so families have the facts they need to navigate this pandemic. The ever-growing FAQs call specialists help create and rely on to answer questions is available to the public here.
The Louisiana 211 statewide network connects callers with more than 9,600 resources to help with issues across the board 365 days a year. During this time, Berthelot explained that though caller identification is private, Louisiana 211 provides aggregate-themed data twice a day to the state Department of Health.
Berthelot said Louisiana 211 call specialists are answering calls about a wide range of topics related to COVID-19 — from prevention tips, symptoms, transmission, workforce-related questions, social distancing and about Gov. Edwards’ stay-at-home order.
“Louisiana 211 is a humble but courageous operation. It is a network of nonprofit organizations working together to provide reliable services every day throughout the state,” Berthelot said. “Every day, we are adapting as a network to serve the people of the state as best we can.”
During peak call times, callers may have a longer wait time than is typical. Berthelot asked that callers have patience and continue to call back for answers. Most parishes have a callback service to prevent callers waiting on hold.