Calls flood into 211 coronavirus information line

Posted: Updated:

Westchester officials are directing questions about the coronavirus to the county’s 211 information line.

The call center is mobilized inside the United Way of Westchester and Putnam to take questions on the coronavirus. They even opened up a second room with more than a dozen operators to handle the influx of calls.

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Officials say  they began seeing an uptick in calls concerning the virus Tuesday after Westchester County Executive George Latimer told residents the center was being activated.

The 211 center is activated during times of crisis in recent years that includes Superstorm Sandy and a recent outbreak of hepatitis.

United Way’s president and CEO says they are prepared to take calls on the coronavirus and are being provided with real-time updates from the Westchester County Health Department with information they can give out to callers.

It's important to know they can't give out medical advice, other than what people can do to prevent the spread of the virus, like washing hands and covering a cough. But they will point people to resources that can help.

Officials say a lot of questions coming in right now are from people who may have come in contact with the 50-year-old attorney in New Rochelle, who became Westchester’s first case of the coronavirus.

"So what we are doing in real-time is collecting that information getting it back to Westchester County, specifically the Department of Health, so they know we are keeping track of those people who are calling," says Tom Gabriel, president & CEO of United Way of Westchester & Putnam

Those who have questions concerning the coronavirus can call 211. The center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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