Frightened San Diegans Calling 211 For Swine Flu Information - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Frightened San Diegans Calling 211 For Swine Flu Information

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There's a lot we don't know yet about the swine flu, so who can we turn to for answers to our questions? Many are calling 211 San Diego for non-emergency information about the virus.

If you want the 411 on swine flu, the number to call is 211.

"We're a 24-hour service. We're a non-profit," Mona Freels said.

Freels says 211 San Diego works with the county's Office of Emergency Services to provide accurate information to callers - information from a real person.

"You're going to get some general information from a recording and you'll get a live voice, and that person is going to have a conversation and really assess what your needs are," she said.

The goal is to calm nerves and get people the help they need. The most common questions?

"They want to know what the symptoms are, they want to know how contagious it is and how to protect themselves," Freels said.

Lillian Mendoza says another big part of her job is dispelling rumors.

"One person called and asked if you can get it from eating pork, and that was a definite no. The other person asked if someone comes in from Mexico, does that mean automatically that they're contagious, and that was no without signs or symptoms," Mendoza said.

The phones have been ringing all day, but 211 operators aren't just here for swine flu questions. They're also helping county residents with everyday problems, from getting emergency food to free health care.

"I just got off the phone with a woman whose utilities were shut off and looking for services to get them back on," an operator said.

211 is a free service designed to show you someone cares, and to put you in touch with others willing to help. The ultimate goal of the operators here is to make you feel better - a feeling that's mutual.

"I feel very rewarded at the end of the day, definitely," Mendoza said.

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