Repurposed poison control hotline receiving COVID-19 calls

May 18, 2020 | 12:06 am

Updated May 17, 2020 | 11:28 pm

When COVID-19 first spread to Kentucky, the state had to act quickly in setting up a call center that could field questions related to the virus. Rather than start from scratch, the Kentucky Poison Control hotline was repurposed to make those accommodations.

The Kentucky Poison Control Center reported late last that it had received 613 calls related to COVID-19 from Daviess County since March 6.

Joe Hall, public relations manager of the KPCC, said some of the top questions have been about travel, stimulus payments, unemployment and testing.

“We added the COVID hotline to our existing poison control center service, which has not decreased in volume,” said Ashley Webb, director of the KPCC.

Statewide, the center gets about 850 calls a day to the COVID-19 hotline and about 130 calls per day to poison control, Webb said.

“It’s a lot of calls, but it’s actually a slight decrease,” Hall said of the daily coronavirus inquiries. “When the hotline first started, we were getting more than 1,000 calls per day.”

Hall reported many of the callers are in the 40-65 age range.

“Currently, we use non-medical personnel to take the initial call, and they triage it to an RN or pharmacist if the call is clinical in nature,” Webb said. “We initially used several healthcare professional volunteers from the community to help with the extreme volume on the line.”

Hall reported that in February, KPCC saw a 30% increase in overall exposure calls related to disinfecting agents, a 56 percent increase in poisonings from household cleaners and a 30 percent increase in poisonings from hand sanitizers.


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The Owensboro Health coronavirus hotline is available 24/7 by calling 877-888-6647. Call the hotline before seeking in-person care. More information from OH can be found here.

For the latest information and data on COVID-19 in Kentucky visit or dial the Kentucky state hotline at 800-722-5725.

For the latest health guidelines and resources from the CDC, visit their website here.

May 18, 2020 | 12:06 am

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