911 flooded with COVID-19 calls

Don’t call 911 except for emergencies – this is the message coming from emergency dispatchers as they are flooded with non-urgent calls, especially those related to COVID-19.

These calls include questions about travel restrictions, isolation rules and complaints about neighbours, said Matthew Bordewick, chairperson of Emergency Dispatchers of BC.

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“These calls are tying up the lines for life-and-death calls for ambulance, police and fire,” Bordewick added.

The Ambulance Paramedics of BC reported in late March that, while other calls are down, the number of COVID-19 related calls have increased substantially – they estimated this was 75 per cent of all calls to 911 dispatch.

Contacts for medical information:

· COVID-19: call 811, 1-888-COVID19 or your doctor

· Richmond Mental Health Number: 604-204-1111

For all the latest COVID-19 news, click here.


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