State Coronavirus (COVID-19) Hotline Expands Amid Flood Of Calls
The State of Oklahoma’s COVID-19 hotline only opened Friday and already more health professionals are being added to answer calls.
When the hotline first launched on Friday at 2p.m., over 50 calls were received. Fast forward to Tuesday, that number exploded to 255.
“They’re scared, they want correct information,” said Ann Benson, Director of Nursing at the Oklahoma State Department of Health. “They're hearing all different things from different news sources, different newspapers, from Facebook.”
As calls flood in, Oklahoma health professionals are encountering some commonly asked questions. One of them being, where to go to get tested.
“We tell them they have to call their primary physician and there are certain requirements that are set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” said Benson. “They have to be symptomatic which induces temperature, coughing, and shortness of breath.”
Experts urge the public to avoid the emergency room and urgent care facilities. Leading to another question, should a mask be worn in public?
“No, they should not, the mask that your health care providers wear is a special mask called an N95 and you have to be fit for that,” said Benson. “It gives you a close fit around the face. The masks that you see people wear at the airport or grocery stores those are not fit.”
The hotline will remain as long as the demand is there. Another week brings expansions.
“Here at the health department there will be three (health professionals answering calls),” said Benson. “Then we'll have another location that we will have anywhere from two to five more, but we do have the capabilities to add many more than that.”
You can monitor COVID-19 in real time through the CDC’s website.
If you have questions for Oklahoma’s COVID-19 hotline, call 877-215-8336.