It’s been a busy couple of weeks for Ottawa Public Health staff. As COVID-19 concerns continue to grow in Canada, the local service has been inundated with queries about the virus. Now receiving 800 calls on average per day, the health agency is pleading with the public to get informed before contacting them.
Since the beginning of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has been sharing information, advice and facts to help locals understand the pandemic.
In response, OPH is now politely asking members of the public to refrain from calling them if it’s not necessary, and to lean on their online resources instead.
In a statement on Twitter, the service explained, “We are currently experiencing significant call volumes on our phone lines.”
They went on to add that their current priority is to speak to healthcare providers, residents who have travelled to China, Italy or Iran recently, those who have COVID-19 symptoms, and those who have been in close contact with someone who may have contracted the virus.
“Our ability to properly manage the COVID-19 situation in our community is depending upon being able to speak with those residents described above.”
OPH went on to urge anybody with general questions and queries to visit their website, rather than adding to their call volumes.
“It is imperative that we manage our phone lines accordingly,” the government agency explained.
In a similar message, the city’s medical officer of health asked Canadians to direct their non-urgent concerns to the OPH website.
Dr. Vera Etches tweeted, “As we respond to #COVID19, I will have limited capacity to respond to questions/replies via this account.”
“Updates and info will be communicated through @ottawahealth & interviews with the media (when I'm available). Thank you for your understanding,” she said, before sharing the OPH website link.
As we respond to #COVID19, I will have limited capacity to respond to questions/replies via this account. Updates a… https://t.co/BiTnhBB0Co— Dr. Vera Etches (@Dr. Vera Etches)1584064378.0
In the last week or so, the city’s health agency has been required to reach out to the public on several occasions.
You can find further advice on the Ottawa Public Health website by clicking here.