COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – The phone line designated to help those 70 and older with making COVID-19 vaccine appointments, was inundated with calls Wednesday morning.
Dr. Brannon Traxler, the interim public health director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, revealed the Care Line received over 5,000 calls at one time.
Traxler added to put that into perspective, that is just shy of the total number of calls they handle in an entire week. She said the normal call volume is about 8,000 calls in a week.
The DHEC Care Line at (855) 472-3432 is being used as a way to help those in the 70 and older community figure out which hospital provider to call in order to make an appointment.
An interactive map is available that shows locations across S.C. that are accepting appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. That map can be found here. It’s important to note, that while there isn’t a large amount of COVID-19 vaccine providers at this point, DHEC is working to onboard more providers and making sure there are enough shipments of the vaccine.
The influx of calls on Wednesday morning created technical issues with the phone system which is in the process of being fixed.
Traxler also said during a Wednesday afternoon media briefing that the agency is expanding its number of workers at their Care Line. DHEC has contracted with a vendor that will allow them to double the number of call center operators. The total number of call center team members has gone from 30 to 61 people.
She added that they are making flow changes in order to fast track calls coming into the Care Line and coordinating with the emergency management division.
But despite all the changes, Traxler urged South Carolinians to be patient and expect to be put on hold. They are doing everything they can to get to everyone as quickly as possible, while also trying to provide the information that individuals need.