Background: A significant challenge of the COVID-19 epidemic was the dissemination of accurate and timely information to the public, health care providers, and first responders. We describe the expansion of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center (APDIC) to fill such a need for residents of Arizona. Methodology: The original mission of the APDIC was recognition and management of chemical exposure, poisoning, envenomation, and drug-related medical problems. In response to COVID-19, APDIC expanded its personnel and facilities to accommodate telephone calls and teleconsults regarding COVID-19. Thirteen different topics dealing with COVID-19 were addressed and tracked and included: testing information, isolation, prevention, personal protective equipment, travel, vaccines, therapies, antibody testing, contact tracing, exposure to the virus and what to do in businesses, at work or at school regarding isolation and quarantine. Results: Responding to the public health needs, APDIC accepted >320,000 telephone calls and completed 48,346 teleconsults from March 3, 2020 to March 3, 2021. This represented a 15-fold increase in calls and twice the number of consults over 2019. Upon release of the vaccine, calls increased sharply with >7,000 calls in 1 day (February 7, 2021). Conclusion: In conclusion, the APDIC, rapidly expanded to address urgent public health information needs surrounding COVID-19 while still accomplishing its founding mission.
- public health
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics
- Health Information Management