The 211 information phone line has seen a dramatic increase in calls as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is underway in Oregon.
Chief Executive Office Dan Herman tells KOIN 6 News that they were taking about 400 calls per day before the pandemic. Now, especially in the last two weeks, the line is receiving as many as 2,000 calls per day.
"It's a challenge, but it's our mission and we're glad to do the work," Herman said.
Before the pandemic, 211info was providing callers with referrals to basic needs programs such as food, shelter, health care and more. Now, they are still doing that on top of being the vaccine eligibility line for the State of Oregon.
Herman said any time there is a change in the distribution of the vaccine, the calls spike. They are expecting even more calls to come in once other populations are eligible.
Volumes are lower on the weekends. Herman recommends trying the line at different times of the day.
"Listen to voice tree, it will instruct you to leave your name and contact information so we can call you back," Herman said.
The organization has hired over 60 new employees to help field calls and still have 30 open positions.
The calls are increasing as the Oregon Health Authority reported 10 new COVID-19 related deaths on Monday, raising the state's toll to 1,991. The deaths occurred between Jan. 2 and Feb. 1.
State health officials also reported 649 new cases of Feb. 3, bringing the state total to 144,605.
The OHA also reported that a cumulative total of 471,966 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered. That is 67% of the 706,575 doses of vaccine that have been delivered to sites across the state.
In addition, state health officials said the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 across Oregon is 266, which is four more than yesterday. There are 63 COVID-19 patients in intensive care unit (ICU) beds, which is two more than yesterday.
The new cases were reported in the following counties: Baker (5), Benton (32), Clackamas (40), Clatsop (5), Columbia (1), Coos (16), Crook (7), Curry (1), Deschutes (20), Douglas (19), Harney (4), Hood River (1), Jackson (41), Jefferson (7), Josephine (22), Klamath (4), Lake (2), Lane (91), Lincoln (8), Linn (21), Malheur (5), Marion (66), Morrow (1), Multnomah (57), Polk (26), Umatilla (31), Union (7), Wallowa (3), Wasco (4), Washington (62) and Yamhill (40).
Oregon's 1,982nd COVID-19 death is a 59-year-old man in Baker County who tested positive on Feb. 1 and died on Feb. 1 at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center. He had underlying conditions.
Oregon's 1,983rd COVID-19 death is a 99-year-old woman in Clackamas County who tested positive on Jan. 24 and died on Jan. 26 at her residence. She had underlying conditions.
Oregon's 1,984th COVID-19 death is a 64-year-old woman in Clackamas County who tested positive on Jan. 24 and died on Jan. 25 at her residence. She had underlying conditions.
Oregon's 1,985th COVID-19 death is a 71-year-old woman in Deschutes County who tested positive on Jan. 20 and died on Jan. 28 at her residence. She had underlying conditions.
Oregon's 1,986th COVID-19 death is a 94-year-old woman in Jackson County who tested positive on Jan. 4 and died on Jan. 31 at her residence. She had underlying conditions.
Oregon's 1,987th COVID-19 death is an 86-year-old man in Marion County who tested positive on Jan. 25 and died on Jan. 31 at his residence. He had underlying conditions.
Oregon's 1,988th COVID-19 death is a 65-year-old man in Umatilla County who tested positive on Jan. 11 and died on Jan. 26 at his residence. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.
Oregon's 1,989th COVID-19 death is an 81-year-old woman in Multnomah County who tested positive on Nov. 29 and died on Jan. 2 at her residence. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.
Oregon's 1,990th COVID-19 death is a 72-year-old man in Umatilla County who tested positive on Jan. 16 and died on Jan. 29 at his residence. Presence of underlying conditions is being confirmed.
Oregon's 1,991st COVID-19 death is a 98-year-old woman in Yamhill County who tested positive on Jan. 21 and died on Jan. 30. Location of death is being confirmed. She had underlying conditions.
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