Trends in 2-1-1 Calls During Public Health Emergencies, Overall and By Gender: Hurricane Irma and COVID-19 in Broward County, Florida

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal Title

Disaster medicine and public health preparedness

MeSH Headings

Male; Humans; Female; COVID-19 (epidemiology); Florida (epidemiology); Public Health; Emergencies; Cyclonic Storms; Pandemics


Trends in 2-1-1 calls reflect evolving community needs during public health emergencies (PHEs). The study examined how changes in 2-1-1 call volume after 2 PHEs (Hurricane Irma and the coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19] pandemic declaration) in Broward County, Florida, varied by PHE type and whether variations differed by gender and over time. Examining 2-1-1 calls during June to December 2016, June to December 2017, and March 2019 to April 2021, this study measured changes in call volume post-PHEs using interrupted time series analysis. Hurricane Irma and the COVID-19 pandemic were associated with increases in call volume (+81 calls/d and +84 calls/d, respectively). Stratified by gender, these PHEs were associated with larger absolute increases for women (+66 and +57 calls/d vs +15 and +27 calls/d for men) but larger percent increases above their baseline for men (+143% and +174% vs +119% and +138% for women). Calls by women remained elevated longer after Hurricane Irma (5 wk vs 1 wk), but the opposite pattern was observed after the pandemic declaration (8 vs 21 wk). PHEs reduce gender differences in help-seeking around health-related social needs. Findings demonstrate the utility of 2-1-1 call data for monitoring and responding to evolving community needs in the PHE context.

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