PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — People concerned about a cough or fever can soon call an Oregon Health & Science University COVID-19 hotline that doctors hope will help people figure out what’s going on and reduce the burden on health care workers.
A $1.6 million donation will help launch the COVID-19 hotline, by covering the costs of dedicated phone lines and computers, as well as training for hotline staff, OHSU spokeswoman Amanda Gibbs told the Oregonian/OregonLive. The donation came from the Andrew and Corey Morris-Singer Foundation.
Gibbs said patients who call the hospital will have the option to be routed directly to the new hotline. The hotline will be staffed by medical professionals who will triage the concerns of callers who think they may be sick with the virus.
Gibbs said hospital administrators don’t yet know exactly when the service will start, but said it will eventually be made available to most of OHSU’s clinics for at least the next three months. She said OHSU is looking into extending the service to text and email.
“The hotline and telemedicine service will also help prevent OHSU’s primary care system from becoming overwhelmed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and will help prevent primary care clinics, urgent care and emergency departments from becoming overcrowded with patients who could more appropriately be treated with telemedicine services,” Gibbs said.