February 11th (i.e., 2-11) is recognized each year as National 2-1-1 Day. But if you’re looking for the most significant date in 2-1-1 history, it’s probably March 18th, 2020. One month ago today, 2-1-1s recorded the greatest number of requests in single day, 46,399, and that counts only the requests received by 2-1-1s in 24 states and parts of several others that participate in the 2-1-1 Counts tracking system. That is almost three times higher than an average pre-COVID day in those same states in 2020. The chart below shows the dates on which different states reported their peak numbers of requests for food, housing, utility payment, employment, and household assistance. Mouse over each square to see the state, request category, and total number of requests. It’s not yet clear why March 18th – a Wednesday seven days after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic – rose above other dates. We examined state-level school closure dates, stay-at-home orders and first COVID cases and fatalities; none were associated with peak call dates. What is clear is that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrust 2-1-1s into the national spotlight like never before, and March 18th will be remembered as the height of that response. In analyses, 2-1-1s with statewide coverage included AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, HI, IA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NE, NJ, NV, NY, PA, SC, SD, VA, WI and WY; 2-1-1s with partial coverage included CA, IL, IN, KS, KY, OH and TN.
Contributors: Rachel Garg, Balaji Golla, Irum Javed, Matthew Kreuter