Southwest District Health Department sets up coronavirus call center as misinformation spreads

Posted at 4:47 PM, Mar 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-06 16:50:33-05

BOISE — With the coronavirus (COVID-19) becoming more widespread throughout the nation, many people are receiving wrong information about how to protect themselves against the virus. Due to all the spreading misinformation, the Southwest District Health Department has set up a call center and a hot-line. The goal is to give people a chance to ask any questions they have about COVID-19.

Effective Monday, March 9, 2020 the hours for the Southwest District Health Coronavirus (COVID-19) call center will be changed to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The call center began taking calls on Wednesday, March 4 at 8 a.m. and as of March 5th at 8 p.m. had handled 73 calls. The nature of the calls was primary travel related questions.

"If there are calls that they aren't able to answer the questions, they can take a note and pass it off to the epidemiology team, so we can call those people back and answer their question," Epidemiologist Sheryl Craig said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is warning people not to overreact or buy up supplies of medical masks and unnecessary personal protective gear.

Many shelves in stores throughout Boise are running out of stock as people continue to purchase bottled water, bleach, disinfectant wipes, toilet paper and other emergency supplies. The WHO says a shortage of these supplies is a disadvantage to everyone since that would leave health workers unprotected from COVID-19.

"If you buy all the hand sanitizer and all the masks, you are actually doing yourself a disfavor because if you read Dr. Pate's article this morning, that doesn't really do much good if everybody around you is sick," Idaho Governor Brad Little said.