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Upstate Medical’s COVID hotline renamed, handling questions on additional health matters

By Eric Reinhardt (


Upstate Medical University on Friday said it is renaming its COVID hotline. It is now called a public-health hotline. Upstate made the change “as more and more questions about monkeypox surface in the community.” (Photo credit:

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Upstate Medical University has renamed its COVID information hotline as the public-health hotline.

It made the change “as more and more questions about monkeypox surface in the community,” per its Friday announcement.

The public-health hotline, which Upstate fully funds, will be available from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Days and times may change depending on nature and severity of public illness, Upstate said.

The public-health hotline number is (315) 464-3979.

“With interest and concern about monkeypox on the rise, and with Covid still in the community and soon the flu, we thought it best to expand the information we can offer, hence the name change,” said Joey Angelina, registered nurse, who co-directs the hotline with registered nurse Michele Caliva.

The rebranding means callers will be able to get information on questions, such as symptoms, treatments, exposure risks, vaccines for a variety of illnesses that are common in the community.

The same team of experts that handled more than 120,000 calls about COVID since Upstate’s hotline begin in March 2020 will continue to answer the hotline, Caliva said.

The team of registered nurses and non-licensed staff develop their public-health acumen by pouring through health information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health agencies; and by hearing from Upstate’s infectious disease, public-health experts, and emergency-management experts.

Angelina and Caliva emphasize that the information hotline is not 9-1-1. Calls for medical assistance should always be directed to 9-1-1.

“With summer waning and colleges and schools soon to open, the expectation is that many more people will be reaching out and looking for answers,” Angelina said. “I think this expansion of the hotline is coming at the right time.”





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