911 centers dealing with call increase as stay-at-home orders go into effect


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Some local 911 centers are dealing with an increase in call volume after stay-at-home orders went into effect in Guilford and Forsyth Counties Friday afternoon.

“It’s been a lot busier because everybody is home, so the call volume has increased,” said Guilford Metro 911 Supervisor Angela Mitchell.

She explained that some callers are asking questions about what they can and can’t do when orders go into effect. While there are resources to help in Guilford County, she says the 911 center is for emergencies only.

“We’ve had some today asking about if they can still have a yard sale,” Mitchell said.

She said that since March 16, Guilford Metro dispatchers have taken more than 5,000 non-emergency calls.

Typically, they receive 2,000-3,000 per week.

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office posted a warning online that 911 operators were being overwhelmed by non-emergency calls, meaning people with actual emergencies aren’t getting help as quickly as they need.

With schools closed until May 15, telecommunicators say they have also noticed an uptick in false calls.

“We’ve seen a big increase in juveniles playing on the phone. From Monday to today, we’ve had well over 50 calls of just kids playing on the phone,” Mitchell said.

She urged parents to monitor their kids when possible to make sure resources weren’t being used when others might need help.

“We’ve heard from reporting fires to fights to just all kinds of things, and you ask for an address, they’ll give you a false address,” Mitchell said.

If you have questions about the stay-at-home order in Guilford County, you can email stayhome@guilfordcountync.gov.

In Forsyth County, you’re asked to call 311, or (336) 727-8000, or visit https://www.cityofws.org/2681/Stay-At-Home-Order-FAQ.

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