DHSS adjusts statewide COVID-19 hotline hours
Hotline sees decline in overnight call volume
JEFFERSON CITY, MO – On March 11, four days after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Missouri, the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) quickly activated a statewide public hotline for citizens or health care providers needing guidance regarding COVID-19. Since that time, more than 112,000 calls have been taken regarding testing, symptoms, regulations and more.
The 24/7 hotline will shift to a new schedule beginning Oct. 1. Calls will be accepted from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. Current data shows that 93% of calls are received during this timeframe.
“In March, there was more uncertainty about COVID-19 and its impacts than there is today,” said Williams. “We learn more each week and have been intentional about getting information out to the public through our website, social media and the traditional news media. Additionally, Gov. Parson and various Cabinet members have held more than 75 livestreamed press briefings to answer questions and keep the public informed about the latest information on COVID-19 in Missouri. It remains important that people get the information they need to be safe and protect the health of their communities.”
The hotline’s call volume peaked in late March with more than 15,000 calls in one week. Currently, approximately 3,000 calls are handled in a week. The schedule is being adjusted to allow the State to use resources most efficiently.
“Consistent with our whole government approach, many of our team members who have been staffing the call center have stepped up and outside their normal role to help fill this need for our state,” said Dr. Randall Williams, Director of DHSS. “Providing Missourians with the information they need has been crucial. I’m grateful for their willingness to adapt their work lives and even personal schedules in order to ensure we do that.”
The COVID-19 hotline can be reached at 877-435-8411, and translation services are available. Additionally, DHSS’s virtual assistant, the COVID-19 Chatbot, is always available at health.mo.gov.
About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at http://health.mo.gov or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo