Council of Community Services sees 500% increase in calls

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) - A statewide agency says its call volume has gone up 500 percent over the last few days. The Council of Community Services oversees Virginia 2-1-1, a call center that directs people to resources for just about everything.

Council President Anne Marie Green said they're fielding calls mostly about COVID-19 testing and help with unemployment. She said the call volume spikes every time Governor Ralph Northam hosts a press conference about coronavirus. The council is referring people with concerns about testing to their health care providers. Green said there are few tests to go around.

She said evictions have been halted and utility companies have been instructed not to cut service for people who cannot pay.

But in the meantime, they've closed their drop-in centers, and suspended the free needle exchange program.

"The health department instructed us on Monday to provide 30-day supplies for our clients and we did that on Tuesday, and hopefully, you know, within 30 days we'll know what next we need to do," Green said.

Green also said they've stopped public contact with their Drop In Centers, but they are mailing people HIV home test kits and condoms.

Green says they also need volunteers to help manage the call volume. They've been using help from the United Way and AmeriCorps.

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