As calls to the Erie County COVID-19 information line have steadily declined, this hotline will answer its last call on Thursday, June 30.
The Erie County Department of Health established the COVID-19 information line in the pandemic’s earliest days. It served as a dedicated resource for Erie County residents for nearly two-and-a-half years, starting with information about testing and safety and extending into general information support and vaccine appointments.
Led by ECDOH, the COVID-19 information line was supported by staff from the Division of Information and Support Services. As it moved physical locations several times, the Department of Public Works also played a key role in the information line’s operations.
“Our call takers had to be responsive and informed, even at times where the information that we had changed from day to day and hour to hour,” Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein said. “They became subject matter experts, problem solvers, and a calm voice on the other end of the line during uncertain times.”
Public Health Coordinator Mary Jo Carlo managed the call taker group, which was staffed at first by personnel from ECDOH and other Erie County departments who jumped in to assist the county’s COVID-19 response. For the majority of its operations, a team of dedicated fee-for-service staff fielded these calls, handling high volumes of calls during vaccine rollouts.
The COVID-19 information line will transition to a voice recording starting at 4 p.m. Thursday. The recording will direct callers to the ECDOH website for COVID-19 testing and vaccination information, with the option to be transferred to contact tracing during business hours. Callers seeking a duplicate vaccine record card or with Excelsior Pass issues will also have an option to transfer for assistance. Callers looking to schedule a “Vax Visit” will go to a live operator.
The number, 716-858-2929, now known by many, can be reactivated if needed for COVID-19 information or other public health emergencies.
√ Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH), COVID-19: www.erie.gov/covid19
√ ECDOH, COVID-19 testing: erie.gov/covidtest
√ ECDOH, COVID-19 vaccine clinics: www.erie.gov/vax