Quebec urges people to stop calling 811 for COVID-19 concerns
People showing possible symptoms should call new helpline: 1-877-644-4545
The Quebec government is now urging people to stop calling 811 if they have symptoms of the coronavirus. This comes after Info-Santé lines were overwhelmed by phone calls this week.
Instead, patients are asked to call 1-877-644-4545. That phone line, which had been strictly for information purposes earlier, will now double as a triage line, where health authorities can assess callers' symptoms.
People with flu-like symptoms are asked to call that information line before heading to one of the province's COVID-19 testing clinics.
"We have made this service much more robust," Quebec Health Minister Danielle McCann said Friday. "Whether people just need information or have symptoms, they have to call this number from now on."
In recent days callers had been subject to wait times at 811 far beyond the norm and, in some cases, put on hold for several hours.
On Thursday, Francine Dupuis, the assistant director for the (CIUSSS) du Centre-Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, said they were working to recruit more staff.
She said they are asking nurses who are retired or at home for various reasons to get in touch. They'll offer to give them their licenses back and train them to help triage cases.