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Retired nurses in Quebec asked to help deal with influx of COVID-19 calls: health authorities

Coronavirus around the world: March 12, 2020
WATCH: Coronavirus around the world: March 12, 2020

To help handle the spread of the novel coronavirus, Quebec health authorities are calling on retired nurses to assist the health care system deal with the influx of phone calls from the public.

Santé Quebec said on Thursday its hotline, Info-Santé (811), was dealing with technical difficulties on their lines due to the high number of calls.

Francine Dupuis, president of the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, said the health care system is asking recruit retired nurses and nurses on leave to help Info-Santé screen calls from the public and help refer people to the proper protocol.

READ MORE: Quebec calls for isolation of all travellers returning from abroad to limit spread of coronavirus

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Nurses are encouraged to call 514-293-0526 to learn about how they can help.

“This is an important situation. It’s been declared a pandemic,” said Dupuis. She however added that the health network is “getting well organized.”

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Health officials are urging all travellers who experience COVID-19 symptoms, to please contact Info-Santé at 811. Caseworkers will help individuals book appointments at one of the three designated clinics.

Anyone who has general questions or wants more information about the virus should however contact Quebec’s hotline at 1-877-644-4545, and not 811.

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–With files from The Canadian Press