911 center overwhelmed by non-emergency COVID calls in East Baton Rouge Parish

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Some people are putting stress on the 911 system in East Baton Rouge Parish with non-emergency calls.

The center is being overwhelmed with calls about COVID testing and where to get the vaccine. The EMS spokesman says they had this problem earlier during the pandemic but calls are increasing again.

They’re now reminding people to only call 911 if they have a true emergency.

“When you call for a non-emergency, it ties up a 911 dispatcher, as long as a real emergency does,” said Mike Chustz, Public Information Officer for East Baton Rouge Parish EMS. “They don’t just determine you don’t have an emergency and hang up. They have to go through a list of questions, a series of things to make sure you’re okay. During the first three days of August, we average about 230 calls a day. During this same time last year, we averaged about 170. That is a lot for one parish.”

The East Baton Rouge Parish has created a website for COVID testing. If you don’t have internet access, call the health department’s COVID-19 hotline at 855-453-0774.

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