Coronavirus impacts 2020 Census counting here in Georgia

Channel 2 investigative reporter Nicole Carr learned that the online option is helping the process run more smoothly.

ATLANTA — Coronavirus has caused the Census Bureau to delay some of its field operations and put other mandates in place for the people who are processing paper forms.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Nicole Carr learned that the online option is helping the process run more smoothly.

Earlier this month, a census bureau field operations head touted larger than expected response.

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To date, more than 11 million households have responded to the form that serves as an historical record and helps determine our resources and government representation.

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“With what’s going on in the nation right now with this health crisis, more people are at home,” said Tim Olson, associate director of field operations for the Census Bureau. “I think people are really starting to understand how important the census is to their community, to the state and to the nation.”

Since then, the bureau has been faced with its own challenges because of coronavirus.

Field operations have been suspended through April 1.

The Indiana national processing facilities will work with minimal staff. Another in Phoenix is practicing social distancing. The bureau also reported that an Iowa field operator supervisor was quarantined for coronavirus.

The Census Bureau did not immediately respond to Carr with specifics about Atlanta employees or operations, but not a separate household and economic surveys will primarily be done over the phone.

It all illustrates how important the online response will be.

When you go to my2020census.gov, you take the information from the mailer you received to complete the form, avoiding any in-person processing at the facilities.

“It’s a little easier to respond that way. There’s a unique code in their letter to the address. They simply enter that to begin the process,” Olson said.

In addition to mail-in forms, the online option takes about five minutes to complete. There’s also a phone option for you to get it done. The number to call is 844-330-2020.

Channel 2's Alyssa Hyman reports.