Langford launches COVID-19 response team, website and call centre
LANGFORD -- With new cases of COVID-19 growing daily on Vancouver Island, Langford is taking steps to fight the virus head-on.
In an interview with CTV News Thursday, Langford Mayor Stew Young wasn’t holding back any punches when describing the municipality’s efforts to help manage the spread of coronavirus.
“I want to fight this. I want to put as many resources that Langford has into this thing,” said Young.
“I want to make sure we win this battle.”
On Friday, he took that fight online with the launch of a new website and call centre.
The purpose of the website is to allow Langford residents to find information on COVID-19 and possibly connect with health workers.
The website features an online self-assessment test to check for symptoms of COVID-19 and is able to connect callers from its call centre to health care professionals, if necessary.
Michael Forbes, founder of Forbes Pharmacy, has teamed up with the City of Langford on the project.
“If a person needs to see a doctor we can use tele-medicine to see them right in their home, over the phone or through online chat,” said Forbes.
“If they need any medication or supplies, we can deliver it to them from the store.”
Forbes says that the website and call centre are meant to assist with self-isolation and is intended to keep people out of clinics and pharmacies.
The original idea was to also offer door-to-door testing for the virus, but due to a Canada-wide shortage of testing kits and safety equipment, the plan is on hold for now, says Forbes.
The City of Langford has contributed $30,000 towards the project and Forbes and his team designed the website over the last five days.
Forbes says he has trained and redeployed his staff from other areas of his businesses – who would have otherwise been laid-off because of the fast-moving economic downturn due to coronavirus – to receive the initial calls to the call centre.
“As the risk goes up, [calls] will be triaged by a nurse, then to a doctor,” said Forbes.
Forbes said he expects to be adding around 10 people a day to the call centres as demand increases.
“You know, this is a crisis,” said Forbes. “Health care workers are wanting to help, it’s in our blood. It’s what we want to do.”
The COVID-19 Langford Response Team website can be found online here and the call centre can be reached at 1-778-600-0240.
The B.C. government's online COVID-19 self-assessment tool can be found online here.