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Virginia's statewide COVID-19 call center | What you need to know about making a testing appointment

The call center currently averages approximately 1,500 to 2,000 calls per day.

NORFOLK, Va. — It's been almost a year of peaks and valleys for Virginia's statewide COVID-19 call center.

“When we first started, focus was vaccinations. It’s evolved a little since then," said Suzi Silverstein, the Virginia Department of Health's assistant director of emergency preparedness and response.

The call center first launched in February 2021 under the state's Vaccinate Virginia rollout.

Hundreds of call center agents across the Commonwealth were on standby, to help people navigate through critical vaccine information once they became widely available for the public. 

At its peak, the state took in more than 20,000 calls per day, spread across as many as 1,000 agents working remotely across the state. 

Now, the focus has shifted from helping people find a vaccine to helping people find a test.

“It’s about a 50-50 split, between vaccine-related questions and testing-related questions," explained Lee Moreau, VDH's new call center manager. 

VDH now has just 45 contracted call center agents, but Moreau says that's enough to handle the current call volume, which she says fluctuates based on need.  

More and more, call center agents have assisted Virginians with digitally accessing their vaccine records and setting up appointments for PCR COVID-19 tests.

However, there are still misconceptions about the powers of the call center, which come through daily in conversations with the agents. 

“We can’t schedule the CVS or the Walgreens, but we can help guide them to that information," Silverstein said. 

VDH call agents can only set up appointments at VDH-based testing clinics, like the one at Military Circle Mall in Norfolk. Demand for tests is still high, so calling the morning-of doesn't guarantee an appointment that same day. 

"People say, 'Where can I get a test right now? I feel lousy.’ But if they’re not calling first thing in the morning, where there might be a little availability, it’s likely we’re scheduling them the next day or the day after," Moreau said. 

Another misconception call center agents are dealing with, is people asking for test results, which the call center can't provide. 

“Each different testing site has different labs and processes. So we’re not giving out personal medical information," Silverstein said.

Currently, the call center averages approximately 1,500 to 2,000 calls per day.

Since February 2021, the call center has received more than 1 million incoming calls and set up almost 250,000 appointments (the majority of those being vaccinations, with testing appointments only increasing in the last several weeks). 

The call center's number is (877) 829-4682.