Last night, some Convo Relay users started posting on Facebook complaining about wait times for interpreters to pick up as long as 25 minutes before finally hanging up. Others tried calling 911 and were unable to connect to an interpreter, which was odd because when a person calls 911, their call is supposed to be automatically redirected to the very next available interpreter.

Deaf Vee Journal sent an email to customer care at Convo Relay and received a response this morning citing the Coronavirus as the reason for their high queue wait time:

Hello and thank you so much for your message.

We are experiencing wait times due to the call volume related to the Coronavirus outbreak. We are increasing our staff to ensure our customers receive the best service possible during this time of international crisis. This is a top priority for us.

We will be providing our customers ongoing updates about the status of this. Would you like me to ensure that you are on our email list?

Thank you and have a great day.

Kind regards, Megan

Deaf Vee Journal has taken the time to contact Karina Pedersen, the Marketing Manager at Convo, to learn more about how Convo will continue to provide access and support for the community. Pedersen confirmed that Convo Relay stays committed to providing the best service during this crisis: “We will be communicating further with our customers today.”

Earlier this week on Monday, Sorenson had an outage and it was also posted on both Facebook and Instagram that due to a high volume of robocalls, the outage occurred. For unknown reasons, their social media posts were taken down fairly quickly.

It is already clear that the occurrence of Coronavirus and related in-person event cancellations, postponements, or alternative arrangements have impacted K-12 school districts, higher education institutions, employers, and other entities. Deaf business owners may have valid concerns that high wait times for an interpreter to pick up the call on both ends will hurt their stream of work and subsequent income (regardless of the VRS provider they use). Deaf employees, students, and parents may be missing out on key information. Deaf community members may struggle to get a hold of providers for medical and other important appointments.

Deaf Vee Journal is committed to sharing updated information on the current pandemic with the community and will continue to work on video access to Coronavirus-related concerns and updates.