As of 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 2, York County has officially suspended its COVID-19 helpline services.
The helpline, which was established on Feb. 1, filled a growing need within the community for COVID-19 information and vaccine registration.
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At that time, the Peninsula Health District was inundated with phone calls and simply did not have the ability to keep up with the influx of calls they received, Gail Whittaker, York County spokesperson wrote in an email on Tuesday.
In addition, Whittaker noted the state’s new online registration system, Vaccinate Virginia, was not yet fully activated and the County saw another critical flaw in the state’s registration system: The inability for residents who do not have internet to register.
According to a the county’s news release on Feb. 1, the county provided support and alternatives for residents without internet and worked closely with the PHD.
“Truly, it was a great example of partnership from so many groups/individuals,” said Whittaker wrote.
Since more residents have been transitioning to Vaccinate Virginia, York County noted a decrease in the number of inquiries they received, according to county’s news release on Tuesday.
“We went from a couple hundred calls a day to 10 or under,” Whittaker added.
York County decided the best course of action was to suspend the local COVID-19 hotline.
The county added a recorded message for residents who call the number which will direct them to Vaccinate Virginia and will update the county’s COVID-19 Connection, which provides information for residents including vaccines, phone numbers, and clinic options.
Whittaker wrote in an email on Tuesday the York County helpline and the operational protocols established during its implementation have prepared the county government should the need arise again.
“We will be able to quickly establish a helpline for our citizens!” Whittaker added.
Residents still needing assistance can call the Vaccinate Virginia phone line at 1-877-VAX-IN-VA or 1-877-829-4682, which is available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Additionally, residents can also visit the Vaccinate Virginia website here.
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