ST. CLOUD -- CentraCare is offering a new service to help reduce wait times at their call center.

Over the last eight months, CentraCare's nurse triage call center has handled more than 2-million calls from the community regarding COVID-19. The high call volume has resulted in longer wait times for patients seeking testing.

Kathy Parsons is the Vice President of Population Health. She says COVID-19 has challenged them in extraordinary and unpredictable ways.

We could never have imagined, just a few months ago, that a global pandemic would stress our call center capacity far beyond its limits.

To help reduce wait times, CentraCare recently implemented an online, self-scheduling function for patients needing COVID-19 testing.

You will be given to option to make an appointment based on time and location right from the CentraCare website.

You are also encouraged to schedule an appointment for a COVID-19 test through your MyChart account or by calling outside of business hours as wait times are usually shorter.

CentraCare is actively exploring other ways to accommodate the large number of callers, including staffing and technology changes.

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