BMC ENTRY SIGN

Calls to Berkshire Health Systems’ testing hotline have doubled recently. The hospital says it has corrected problems with the responsiveness of its hotline service.

PITTSFIELD — Calls continue to come in to a Berkshire Medical Center COVID-19 hotline at about twice the rate seen two weeks ago, amid concern about a rise in Berkshire County cases.

As of Thursday, BMC said it had resolved problems with the hotline that had led to some dropped calls. Michael Leary, the BMC spokesman, appealed to callers not to give up too soon.

“We are seeing that some people are being impatient and not hanging online long enough for an answer to come through,” he said Thursday. “We’re asking people to wait and be patient.”

The hotline can be used to schedule appointments for testing and to speak with nurses about the disease. The line is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. seven days a week. To reach it, call 855-BMC-LINK (855-262-5465).

The hotline logged 670 calls Wednesday, 730 on Tuesday and 664 on Monday. The Wednesday before saw 655 calls, while on Nov. 4 the service received 374 calls.

Though an earlier estimate put the call volume at 1,000 at one point recently, that likely was overstated, Leary said, because of system glitches, including dropped calls from people who dialed in again and were counted twice.

Tests for COVID-19 continue to be made a priority for callers with symptoms of the virus, as well as those preparing for a medical procedure, Leary said. “The time frame for testing will be dependent on the need for it.”

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com and 413-588-8341.

Investigations editor

Larry Parnass, investigations editor, joined The Eagle in 2016 from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, where he was editor in chief. His freelance work has appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant and CommonWealth Magazine.