BATON ROUGE — Louisiana’s statewide 211 network is now answering calls about COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. This network is best designed and staffed to handle the large volume of calls from Louisiana residents who are concerned and who have questions about the rapidly-spreading virus.
Anyone looking for information about the COVID-19 outbreak can simply dial 211 or text the keyword LACOVID to 898-211 for the most current information about the outbreak as it becomes available.
With Louisiana 211 now equipped and trained to answer questions from the public, the Louisiana Department of Health is asking residents to call 211 instead of the current general information line, 855-523-2652.
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. The website is www.la211help.org
Over the past week, the call volume to LDH’s general information line, that was only available during business hours, has increased from several calls a day to several hundred calls.
Dr. Alex Billioux, assistant secretary for LDH’s Office of Public Health, said this change will give citizens the best way to get information any time of the day or night.
“The Louisiana 211 statewide network is established as the public’s first and best source to connect callers with critical information about health and human services,” Billioux said. “This expertise ensures that citizens can talk to a person who is trained to answer their questions 24 hours a day.”
The Louisiana 211 statewide network provides multilingual services as well as information for people who are hearing impaired.
Sarah Berthelot, president and CEO of the Louisiana Association of United Ways, coordinates statewide response efforts with 211 providers throughout Louisiana.
“By working with the Louisiana Department of Health, the 211 network allows residents to get the information they need as quickly as possible. Our robust system of call centers, text message capability and websites gives people access to information that can help them make better decisions and best prepare for this health crisis,” Berthelot said.
This week, LDH provided Louisiana 211 with a comprehensive list of questions that have come into the original information telephone line. These include questions about testing for COVID-19, symptoms and treatment and when to access medical help. Answers to all questions were provided by LDH’s medical leadership team.
Louisiana 211 is supported by United Ways throughout the state of Louisiana.