CORONAVIRUS UTAH

Utah Coronavirus Hotline Sees Call Surge After Recent Announcement

Mar 12, 2020, 11:14 PM | Updated: 11:19 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — As the number of cases of COVID-19 rises, so does the call volume for the Utah Coronavirus Information line, a number set up for those with symptoms, questions or concerns.

For days now, state leaders have urged people with symptoms to call before visiting the doctor. The Utah Department of Health even set up a hotline (1-800-456-7707) so people aren’t overwhelming healthcare providers.

The center taking those calls is not the first place that comes to mind when you think of the coronavirus. But unbeknownst to the many callers over the last week, the Utah Poison Control Center at the University of Utah Health campus has also become somewhat of the center for information about COVID-19.

“The phone’s ringing nonstop,” said Dr. Michael Moss, Utah Poison Control Center medical director. “People have lots of questions and we’re here to help. Things have really ramped up in the last few days.”

Moss said their typical 100-to-120 calls a day about poison turned into hundreds of calls about the coronavirus on Wednesday when state health officials confirmed a third case in Summit County, followed by President Donald Trump’s travel restriction announcement and the news of Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert’s positive test results.

On Thursday, hundreds more called in in a matter of hours around the time Gov. Gary Herbert announced new recommendations to help stop any potential spread of the virus.

“We’re always used to learning about new information because that’s what happens with poisoning, whether it’s a new thing about vaping or tide pods,” Moss said. “We’re just working around the clock to stay on top of the new information that comes from the CDC or Utah Department of Health.”

Visitors to various urgent cares and doctor’s offices have reported seeing the number taped outside the entrance, along with a message warning people with a fever, cough or shortness of breath to call instead of coming in.

A call to the number will bring you to a recorded voice, saying “Welcome to the Utah coronavirus information line.” You’ll then be prompted to ask a number of questions like, “Have you traveled to an area with widespread COVID-19 transmission or had contact with a person infected with COVID-19?” “If you are experiencing symptoms including fever, cough or shortness of breath press two.”

Stay on the line long enough and you’ll have the option to speak with a trained healthcare professional. Moss said the number of staff answering calls has tripled at times to keep up with demand. They might encourage you to stay home, refer you to a doctor or, depending on your answers, recommend testing.

“It’s a pretty case-by-case basis,” Moss said. “As testing has been limited, we’re having to do with the people who will most likely have a positive test because we don’t want to not have enough tests available for the patients that are at highest risk and those that are sickest.”


Coronavirus Resources

Have you or a family member been affected by coronavirus issues in Utah? KSL TV wants to hear from you. Contact KSL by emailing social@ksl.com.

What is COVID-19? Here’s What You Need To Know To Stay Healthy

What We Know And Don’t Know About The Coronavirus

Four Common Coronavirus Questions Answered

The latest coronavirus stories from KSL TV can be found here.

Your Life Your Health: How can parents prepare their home, children against coronavirus?

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC does not recommend wearing a facemask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus Utah

The Nurse Crisis and Patent Risk....
Debbie Worthen

Utah registered nurses are leaving the field, creating the ‘perfect storm’

"Without nurses, we can't have hospitals." Utah nurses are overworked and underpaid. Some say it's put people at risk.
14 days ago
Four-year-old Viola Fairfax-Panza Getting her COVID-19 vaccination, held by her mother Keke Fairfax...
Jed Boal

Salt Lake Co. distributes COVID vaccines for children 6-months and older

Salt Lake County begins COVID-19 vaccinations for children 6 months and older.
14 days ago
FILE PHOTO (Photo by Stephen Zenner/Getty Images)...
Jed Boal

Utah’s youngest kids should be able to get COVID-19 vaccine next week

Kids as young as 6 months old should be able to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the middle of next week. This is an eagerly awaited opportunity for many parents and an issue of concern for others.
18 days ago
Utah COVID testing site. Getty images...
Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

New mobile COVID-19 testing sites open in Utah

With the summer travel season underway and a steady stream of people still testing positive for COVID-19, Nomi Health opened several mobile testing sites across Utah.
27 days ago
The CDC is released updated mask guidance as researchers learn more about COVID-19. (KSL TV)...
Michael Houck, KSL TV

Charter school asks students not to mask to help ‘normalize’ not wearing masks at school

The American Preparatory Academy asks students not to wear a mask during their last three days of school to help with their 'academic and emotional growth.'
1 month ago
AURORA, CO - DECEMBER 15: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center investigat...
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Pfizer booster shot is now approved for children 5-11, here’s what a doctor advises

The CDC now recommends Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots for children ages five to 11. But, a leading pediatric epidemiologist suggests some parents may want to wait based on their summer plans.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Utah Coronavirus Hotline Sees Call Surge After Recent Announcement