BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY)– Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Louisiana’s statewide 211 network has answered a record-breaking number of calls about COVID-19, according to officials.
Working in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Health, the Louisiana 211 statewide network is supported by United Ways throughout the state.
All citizens of Louisiana should call 211 or text the keyword ‘LACOVID’ to 898-211 for answers to questions they have related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were activated on March 12. By 7 p.m. March 29, our call centers had answered 27,391 phone calls. 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.”Sarah Berthelot, La. Association of United Way President/CEO, La. 211 Director of Disaster Response
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. The ever-growing FAQs call specialists help create and rely on to answer questions is available to the public here.
Dr. Alex Billioux, assistant secretary for the Office of Public Health, said the Louisiana 211 statewide network has proven to be a vital source of information for people as they try to reduce their chance of getting sick from the new coronavirus.
“Rightly so, people are worried about what this new virus means to the health of themselves, their family and their community. This worry has translated into people seeking answers to very specific questions, and 211 has been a key way that individuals can get their questions answered. Our team works directly with the 211 team to provide the 211 specialists with up-to-the-minute answers to questions that are oftentimes very specific.”Dr. Alex Billioux
Berthelot said Louisiana 211 call specialists areanswering 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.
She explained that when callers ask new questions, Louisiana 211 works with LDH to find the most accurate answers — and then, as quickly as possible, the answers become a part of their FAQs and available to the public.
During peak call times, callers may have a longer wait time than is typical. But officials ask that callers have patience and continue to call back for answers. Most parishes have a callback service to prevent callers waiting on hold.
In addition to being able to call the Louisiana 211 and to sign up for text messaging, residents can get written answers to the most-asked questions by concerned citizens through www.la211help.org.
The Louisiana 211 statewide network provides multilingual services as well as information for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.