By organizing a coronavirus special needs registry and managing support for vulnerable citizens, jurisdictions should be better placed to relieve the pressure on healthcare systems and help their communities recover quicker from the coronavirus pandemic. The key things to remember when communicating through emergency notification systems are:
The bottom line is to take advantage of the growing number of people signing up for alerts in order to bring communities together, respond together, and recover quicker from the coronavirus pandemic.
Finally, not everybody confined to their home has Internet access. Therefore, if your jurisdiction does not yet have an emergency notification system with SMS opt-in capabilities you could be excluding community members from obtaining advice, support, and medical attention. Or if you aren’t able to send different messages to different lists based on what your community members have signed up for, you might be losing them altogether from receiving your communications.
Many communities have encouraged their residents to send coronavirus-related questions to certain 211 or 311 hotlines but these non-emergency resources have their limits. Some cities have even encouraged their citizens to call these hotlines if they have available medical equipment donations. The issue then becomes how overwhelmed these resources might get.
In New York City, citizens are bypassing these non-emergency hotlines and tying up 9-1-1 services with coronavirus-related medical issues: “…there were more “fever and cough” calls on Saturday than normal. Other calls, such as for chest tightness or pain, also turned out to be virus related.” The increase in 9-1-1 calls are being attributed to other heavy volume times of the year like New Year’s Eve or even 9/11.
This makes the importance of coronavirus awareness for first responders, city and public health officials, and citizens all the more critical. And opens the door to exploring whether two-way communication systems that can incorporate citizen-sourced medical data can make a difference.