PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – As more variant cases are being found across the nation, people are looking for more information on how it will impact them.

The Pittsburgh Poison Center of UPMC is used to getting off-the-wall calls. With the pandemic, the nurses behind the phone lines saw an opportunity to expand those calls to include all things COVID-19.

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“We had a pre-established 24/7 call center already staffed with nurses with training in toxicology and most of their backgrounds are emergency medicine and intensive care,” said Managing Director of Pittsburgh Poison Center.

There are over a dozen nurses on the front phone lines at the Pittsburgh Poison Center.

“We were really able to put our heads together and discuss what kind of questions are we getting, let’s find the right answers and over time, we built a library of answers,” Korenoski said.

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The poison center quickly became a community resource of information. A close partnership with the county health department allows this team to pull in the experts as things continue to change.

“There were definitely times we were getting hundreds of calls in a day, especially in the beginning,” Korenoski said.

The topics ranged from symptoms to quarantine to the vaccine and now even variants. No matter the question, this team works to find an answer. They told KDKA they are just doing their job to be part of the solution.

“It’s a great feeling and it is a privilege to serve the community in this way,” said James Lewis, who’s an RN at the Poison Center.

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Moving forward, the poison center has shown itself as an emergency resource. The plan is to keep going until the COVID calls stop coming.