Sale of phony COVID-19 tests 'disturbing,' health officials say
VANCOUVER -- B.C.'s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued a warning on Monday about what she called a "disturbing" scam involving the sale of fraudulent COVID-19 tests.
She said some people have been phoned and offered "fraudulent laboratory testing" for a cost.
"We're telling everybody in British Columbia, there is COVID-19 testing that is done by our lab, which is an accredited lab. We are moving it out to several other labs around the province, but this is all done for free," said Henry. "Our turnaround time is very quick, and (patients) do not and should not be asked for money."
The warning came at a news conference in Victoria on Monday where provincial health officials announced the first Canadian death from the virus had been recorded in B.C. The patient was a man in his 80s and had been a resident of a care home in North Vancouver's Lynn Valley. His case was announced on Saturday, and he died on Sunday.
Medical experts have also been urging consumers to use a critical eye when evaluating products that appear to be capitalizing on people's fears of the illness. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a list of fraudulent products on its website that claim to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19. It includes items like colloidal silver, coronavirus tea, and essential oils.
Health officials maintain some of the best ways to avoid getting sick include regular hand-washing, avoiding touching your face, and keeping your body as healthy as possible. They are also encouraging anyone who might be sick to stay at home.
"We want everybody to stay home if they're sick, even if they have the sniffles … even if you have no relationship to COVID-19," said Henry.
There are at least 77 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada with 32 cases in B.C., 34 in Ontario, four in Quebec and seven in Alberta.