VICTORIA -- A Langford-based approach to educate citizens about the COVID-19 pandemic was inundated with hundreds of calls in its first hours of operation. 

The COVID-19 self-assessment pilot project is designed to connect sick or concerned West Shore residents with a doctor or nurse.

The call centre, partly funded by the City of Langford and Forbes Group pharmacies, is staffed with doctors, nurses and pharmacists who answer calls from the public.

If a call warrants further attention, doctors can give advice to either self-isolate, call the provincial 811 COVID line or seek immediate medical attention.

In the call centre's first two days in operation over the weekend, attendants took 529 calls. On Monday between 9 a.m. and noon, officials took another 40 calls, according to the City of Langford.

Doctors intervened on 22 calls, six people required further medical testing and two people were directed immediately to the emergency room.

According to the City of Langford, the call line was developed to take some pressure off the 811 line, and to keep people who might be sick at home.

The call centre is taking calls seven days a week between the hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 778-600-0240.