04.16.2020 Updated on  04.15.2020|Emergency Management

4/16 Update: Verizon teams on the frontlines with COVID-19 first responders

Media contact(s)
Najuma Thorpe
najuma.thorpe@verizon.com
Juli Burda
juli.burda@verizonconnect.com

Technologies enable federal, state and local governments to better serve our communities

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. -- Whether standing up a virtual call center to enable government employees in Rhode Island to more efficiently serve their communities from home offices, or keeping nursing home patients in the State of New Mexico’s Aging and Long-Term Services Department connected to loved ones, technology has played a critical role in the missions of federal, state and local governments, educational institutions, public health organizations and the public sector as a whole during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A mobile cell site and landline connectivity were recently delivered to Fort Totten Park in Queens, NY, which is being used as a base of operations for the military, fire department, up to 300 ambulances, and as a potential site for a field hospital. Hundreds of smartphones and devices were delivered to the U.S. National Guard who were recently deployed to New York City in a 24-hour window.

When nursing home residents sheltered-in-place in New Mexico, the state’s Aging and Long-Term Services Department worked with Verizon to distribute hundreds of tablets to nursing facilities across the state. Residents use the tablets to stay connected to their friends and families.

"As you can imagine, this level of social distancing can be very difficult for families that are separated from their loved ones. We have received so much feedback from family members and nursing home residents who are using these tablets to connect with each other. They are so grateful,” said Katrina Hotrum-Lopez, Cabinet Secretary, State of New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services. “Thank you to our Verizon partners who worked with us to secure this order and have helped us bring joy and encouragement to the most vulnerable in our community."

Verizon also partnered with the State of Rhode Island Department of Health on a new COVID-19 hotline to better serve Rhode Islanders during this crisis.

“We are grateful for our partners at Verizon, who assisted the State of Rhode Island in its efforts to set up a virtual contact center on a quick turnaround in our State’s greatest time of need,” said Brian Tardiff, the State’s Chief Information Security Officer. “We needed a hotline at the Rhode Island Department of Health that would enable state staff to answer a high volume of questions from Rhode Islanders who were looking for specific guidance in response to COVID-19. The cloud-based system was easy to stand up for those of us working from home, and enabled calls to be routed to people with the right skill set using just a browser and a phone. We understood that a project of this size and scope normally takes 45-60 days, and together we did it in 48 hours. In addition to adding the service and getting it up and running, we also trained the agents on the system, completing the entire scope of work and taking calls from Rhode Islanders in a matter of hours, not weeks.”

Visit our COVID-19 information page to learn more about Verizon’s response.

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4/9 Update: Verizon teams on the frontlines with COVID-19 first responders


The Verizon Response Team (VRT) has been deployed in 30+ states to serve the public with emergency, on-demand communications services and solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic

At a glance

  • For the first time in its history, the Verizon Response Team (VRT) is active on a nationwide basis, with more than 270 engagements
  • Pop-up healthcare facilities and drive-thru coronavirus testing sites, quarantine facilities on military bases and airports, support for medical and emergency operation centers are examples of where the VRT is deployed
  • 31 states, including the District of Columbia, have requested Verizon Response Team assistance

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. -- The Verizon Response Team (VRT) has been engaged since the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic and to date, has deployed emergency services and solutions to hundreds of COVID-19-related response sites in more than 30 states. In addition to day-to-day support of federal, state and local government agencies on the frontlines of the pandemic, the VRT delivers on-demand, emergency assistance during crisis situations to government agencies, emergency responders, nonprofits and communities on a 24/7/365 basis. Its solutions include portable cell sites, WiFi hotspots, free charging stations and other devices and solutions that enable communications and/or boost network performance.

“The Verizon Response Team’s extreme sense of urgency, combined with its ability to cross multiple segments -- whether healthcare, education, emergency management, or law enforcement -- furthers the missions of those we serve by delivering the connectivity and solutions they need on a moment’s notice,” said Andrés Irlando, senior vice president and president, Public Sector and Verizon Connect at Verizon. “The COVID-19 pandemic marks the first time the VRT has worked on a national crisis, and despite running at nearly five times its normal number of deployments, the VRT continues to operate effectively and deliver for response teams serving communities across the country.”

Since January 28, the VRT has led hundreds of engagements. Nearly 1,300 pieces of equipment have been deployed to emergency operation centers, COVID-19 testing facilities, healthcare facilities and other operations support for the crisis.

Military bases, state and county health departments, state emergency operations centers, airports, law enforcement, medical organizations and fire departments are among the groups that have requested emergency service and support from the VRT. Specific activities include:

  • Standing up temporary emergency operations centers, hospital facilities and testing centers in areas like state parks, convention centers and vacant buildings by deploying network coverage
  • Connecting quarantine sites by deploying network coverage
  • Providing portable hospitals with WiFi connectivity
  • Facilitating communications at testing facilities by issuing smartphones and tablets
  • Keeping teams connected at critical care units, testing facilities and emergency operations centers by providing charging stations for medical staff, emergency management services, law enforcement and other first responders
  • Issuing smartphones and charging units for emergency operations centers
  • Enabling communications for emergency management field workers by deploying smart phones and providing network coverage.

Visit our COVID-19 information page to learn more about Verizon’s response.

3/30 Update: Verizon teams on the frontlines with COVID-19 first responder


Verizon delivers connectivity for USNS Comfort, enabling communication and technology

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. -- Over the weekend, Verizon worked with the US Navy to deliver connectivity for the Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort, a Navy medical treatment facility that includes 1,000 hospital beds, 12 operating rooms, radiology capabilities and a pharmacy. Verizon was able to quickly enable connectivity via a secure, dedicated circuit, which allows the medical community to remain in sync with each other and patients and to support critical IT capabilities to staff. The USNS Comfort is currently deployed to New York City and will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients and alleviate stress on hospitals.

“Enabling the U.S. Navy to deliver on its mission is at the core of what we do at Verizon: we are here to serve wherever and whenever we’re needed,” said Andrés Irlando, senior vice president and president, Public Sector and Verizon Connect at Verizon. “Whether it’s providing mission-critical connectivity and mobile solutions to floating hospitals, work-from-home solutions for government agencies or enabling American students to learn from home, we are proud to be able to deliver necessary solutions in response to COVID-19.”

3/25 Update: Verizon is delivering solutions that allow healthcare professionals to stay connected to patients and each other


BASKING RIDGE, N.J. -- Verizon continues its support of first responders, public health agencies, and federal, state and local government agencies with technology and connectivity solutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Verizon Response Team is currently leading nearly 160 engagements in the United States and has deployed mobile cell sites, WiFi hotspots, free charging stations and other solutions that help boost network performance and enable communications.

Verizon along with public and private healthcare agencies is delivering solutions that allow healthcare professionals to stay connected to patients and each other, including the enablement of coronavirus testing through connected technologies, such as mobile hotspots, smartphones and tablets. The delivery of a reliable, secure network helps healthcare workers stay connected to patient records, on-premise laboratory results and other critical information they need when time to diagnosis and care is critical.

Specifically, Verizon is:

  • enabling connectivity at multiple federal, state and local mobile command centers to accelerate testing at critical remote testing sites
  • standing up technology to allow thousands of doctors to work remotely, alleviating stress on hospitals
  • delivering connectivity to support COVID-19 field efforts at testing and triage centers
  • enabling remote processing for healthcare insurance claims for mobile and remote users by augmenting contact centers
  • expanding telehealth options by increasing access to tablets and devices for patients

“Time is of the essence when addressing a pandemic like COVID-19,” said Dr. Jerry Hauer, former Commissioner of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services for the State of New York. “Verizon’s capabilities and solutions are enabling the seamless communication first responders and public health professionals need to provide critical care to patients during this crisis.”

Verizon has also deployed portable cell sites at Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs), coronavirus mobile testing sites and quarantine areas in Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and Washington, to increase network capacity at these locations.

“Our Verizon team has a tremendous sense of urgency when it comes to the critical technology and connectivity needs of both public health and public safety agencies,” said Andrés Irlando, senior vice president and president, Public Sector and Verizon Connect at Verizon. “When first responders and federal, state and local agencies on the frontlines need us -- for mobile testing or quarantine sites or making sure healthcare professionals are able to connect with patients and each other -- Verizon is here to serve.”

Verizon is also working with education, government and healthcare agencies to provide remote connectivity options, call centers, interactive voice response services (IVRs) and conferencing solutions. This week, Verizon announced that it is working with the Los Angeles Unified School District to provide internet connectivity for students who don’t have Internet access at home. Other initiatives include:

  • standing up a COVID-19 hotline for a state’s department of health
  • working with school systems to provide MiFi devices to enable remote learning
  • working with a city government to add capacity to 311 systems
  • setting up an integrated voice response system for a state department of health to allow better management of incoming calls
  • providing additional phones to multiple agencies to allow more workers the ability to work remotely
  • working with a federal agency to improve integrated voice response systems to better manage call queue
  • activating conference lines for county governments to enable essential functions to continue
  • supporting conference bridges for multiple state and federal agencies

Verizon’s award-winning fiber optic and wireless networks continue to perform well, meeting the shifting demands. We continue to closely monitor network usage and prioritize network demand in assisting many U.S. hospitals, first responders and government agencies, as needed.

3/20 Update: Verizon manages mission-critical technology needs for federal, state and local agencies


“During an unprecedented crisis of this nature, no need is more critical than communication – whether it’s between loved ones or between first responders and healthcare professionals who are on the front line, staying connected is absolutely vital for everyone’s safety and protection,” said former NYPD and LAPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. “As a police commissioner of the nation’s largest cities and today as a private citizen, I have the opportunity to work with Verizon. I know that their network, their technology and most importantly their people will be there to support first responders when they need them most.”

So far, Verizon has deployed portable cell sites to provide additional network coverage at Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs), coronavirus mobile testing sites and quarantine areas in Arizona, California, Georgia, New York, South Carolina, Texas and Washington states.

Verizon’s fiber optic and wireless networks have been built and engineered to perform during moments of crisis. We are closely monitoring network usage and prioritizing network demand in assisting many U.S. hospitals, first responders and government agencies, as needed.

“The challenges faced by public sector agencies -- many of whom are leading the response to this pandemic on a national level -- are unprecedented," said Andrés Irlando, senior vice president and president, Public Sector and Verizon Connect at Verizon.

“For the past several weeks, we've been working with federal, state, local and education agencies to deliver the technologies, solutions and support they need to serve our communities -- and we'll continue to do so for the foreseeable future.”

In addition, the Verizon Response Team, which supports governments and nonprofits 24/7/365, has been activated since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently leading more than 120 engagements in the United States of portable cell sites, WiFi hotspots, free charging stations and other devices that help boost network performance and foster communications for agencies involved in response efforts. First responders and medical teams are using these devices to support critical tasks like managing quarantines sites and triaging patients, supporting the needs of public health and safety professionals including:

  • Quarantine locations at military bases and airports for people returning to the U.S. from abroad
  • COVID-19 testing facilities
  • COVID-19 triage areas for first responders
  • Airport command centers for emergency services
  • First responders and medical staff at hospitals, departments of health and public safety agencies
  • State field workers assigned to COVID-19 response
  • City event management organizations
  • Work-from-home support for fire chiefs and chiefs of police
  • Government housing for military families
  • Backup smartphones for dispatch and operations centers
  • Separate COVID-19 hotlines to divert 911 traffic

In addition, COVID-19 has led to increased call volumes for governments and public health organizations. To assist, we’ve added tens of thousands of conference lines to enable connectivity with coworkers and with the public served. We’ve also worked with organizations to configure integrated voice response (IVR) systems that efficiently route calls, helping to better manage incoming calls. We are also standing up virtual call centers that enable agencies to add additional agents.

Our teams will continue to partner with and support first responders, government and public health organizations because we are all in this together.

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