Development of a COVID-19 warm-line call line and reporting system in an underserved county in Kansas
Wyandotte County, Kansas has continually been one of the most affected counties in the Kansas City region from the COVID-19 outbreak. Being the county with some of the worse health metrics in the state, the need for a reliable information line and quick testing in the Kansas City-Metro area that could be easily accessed by the community was apparent. The Family Health Care COVID-19 Warm-Line & Testing Center was established in collaboration with Dr. Sharon Lee in March 2019 due to the community health crisis from COVID-19. A call center was set up in a clinic within Wyandotte County and volunteers with medical or public health knowledge were recruited to answer live calls. Volunteers come from interprofessional health backgrounds, with most being M1-M4 medical students of the University of Kansas School of Medicine but also pharmacy students, nursing and other working professionals. Volunteers were responsible for following a script to assess need for COVID-19 testing, answer general virus questions, or provide evidence-based recommendations to the community. A drive-through testing center was also established at the clinic, so that volunteers could assist in calling back negative test results and following up with those in the community that needed extra care. The purpose of the call line is as follows: 1. Answer calls and questions related to COVID-19 symptoms and COVID-19 testing 2. Triage to determine need for COVID-19 testing 3. Provide education and accurate information to the public about COVID-19 In June 2020, an additional protocol was developed to help expand the call center to incorporate remote volunteers. An online tracking system was also established in order to allow information and tracking of calls to be more easily accessible. This call-line allowed students the opportunity to have more interface and education with important public health initiative regarding coronavirus. Additionally, it provided a much-needed resource for the community in providing accurate information, education about COVID-19 and critical testing efforts.