Sonoma County setting up coronavirus hotlines
With the incidence of COVID-19 continuing to rise, Sonoma County health officials want to make sure that anyone who needs information about the viral disease can get it with ease.
People with symptoms or questions about their own personal health or potential exposure to coronavirus should be contacting their health care provider, Sonoma County's new interim health officer, Dr. Sundari Mase, said.
For those in need of general information about the new virus, officials are establishing a series of new hotlines dedicated to different sectors of the community that will be staffed by live human beings 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while the coronavirus emergency continues.
The hotlines are expected to be operational late Sunday night or Monday.
They're part of a ramped up effort to improve communication and enhance availability of information through a variety of avenues, including SoCoEmergency.org, social media platforms and dialing 211 (or visiting 211sonoma.org).
“We've just been inundated with calls where people want more information,” Sonoma County Director of Health Service Barbie Robinson said Saturday. And unfortunately some of those calls were coming in on a phone line that was supposed to be dedicated for medical providers, thus making it very difficult for doctors and other medical professionals to reach county Public Health personnel, she said.
But county supervisors' declaration last week of a local public health emergency freed up extra resources that will allow for dedicated staff to respond to community concerns and inquiries around-the-clock, she and Mase said.
The different hotlines are specific to schools, law enforcement and fire protection, employers and business, medical professionals and homeless providers.
Residents will be able to find the phone numbers at SoCoEmergency.org when the hotlines go live, county spokeswoman Jennifer Larocque said.
You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 707-521-5249 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @MaryCallahanB.