CHICAGO (CBS) — The phones are ringing off at the State of Illinois’ coronavirus hotline.
CBS 2’s Tara Molina had an inside look Thursday night at the call center that’s running 24/7. And has it ever been busy.
Molina is told the call center only slows down in the middle of the night. And every time there is an update on coronavirus from the State of Illinois, the call center gets busier.
Callers statewide who want more information on the virus – and some are concerned they have it.
The weeks-old Illinois Department of Public Health’s coronavirus hotline is staffed by health care professionals – nurses and pharmacists, as well as medical and pharmacy residents and senior pharmacy students.
It is a bolstered version of the existing Poison Center line.
If a caller believes they have been exposed, the hotline operators direct them to their local health department, with personalized contact information.
“They get a little bit more information from you, find out exactly where you were and so forth, and give you more nuanced advice about potential testing,” an operator told a caller.
On Thursday, a fifth person tested positive in Cook County. This time, it was a man in his 20s who is a junior at Vanderbilt University in Nashville and had been studying abroad in Florence, Italy.
He caught the virus there and is now hospitalized at Rush University Medical Center.
During Molina’s visit, she heard several calls from people who had been to Italy and were concerned about their own possible exposure.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends travelers from Italy stay home for 14 days and practice social distancing.
You can reach the hotline at 1-800-889-3931.
The City of Chicago has additional line it is operating Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. That line is at (312) 746-7425 (SICK).