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There's a new number to call for info on the coronavirus test
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, left, speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 virus on Monday, March 16, 2020.
VANCOUVER -- The B.C. government has announced a new dedicated phone line where people can get COVID-19 information.
Officials launched the toll-free number on Monday in the hopes of easing pressure on the province's 811 health information line, whose operators have been inundated for days amid growing concerns about the global pandemic.
At times, people who called 811 with questions related to COVID-19 were getting an automated message telling them: "The customer you have dialed is not available."
On Monday, Health Minister Adrian Dix said people can now call 1-888-COVID19 for non-medical information on the virus covering everything from travel recommendations to social distancing.
Dix said the new line should "allow 811 healthcare professionals to support more people who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who require assistance with other health issues."
The line will be manned by service representatives from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, and information will be provided in more than 110 languages.
Dix said people can alternatively text 604-630-0300 for COVID-19 information.
Last week, 811 operators answered more than 10,000 calls over the span of three days, according to the province.