Scammers in B.C. could be taking advantage of novel coronavirus fears to earn a quick buck. Officials just announced that fake coronavirus tests in B.C. are being offered over the phone at a price. Meanwhile, legitimate tests are completely free of cost and done by the province.
In a press conference Monday, March 9, B.C.'s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry warned against fake testing done for novel coronavirus.
She said people were getting phone calls where callers offer tests that can diagnose COVID-19.
"A disturbing thing that we've been made aware of is that some people are calling people and offering them fraudulent laboratory testing for a cost," she said.
Dr. Henry went on to confirm that the province offers its own accredited testing that's entirely free. The legitimate tests send samples throughout several labs across the province.
"Our turnaround time is very quick, and they do not and should not be asked for money," Dr. Henry continued.
The news follows Dr. Henry's earlier announcement about the first novel coronavirus-related death in Canada since the beginning of the outbreak.
The patient was a man in his 80s living a Vancouver nursing home, confirmed Henry. He passed away in the night of Sunday, March 8.
The patient was one of two patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in the same nursing home.
Panic around the virus seems to have taken the province by storm. Stores are selling out of survival supplies like canned goods and toilet paper, and lines at Costco seem to stretch on forever.
The anxiety has also resulted in lowered traffic for many of Vancouver's Chinese businesses.
Experts recommend washing your hands with soapy water or alcoholic disinfectant as one of the best ways to prevent coronavirus.
While face masks work to some degree, they may be in short supply with all the store shortages.
There are currently 77 confirmed novel coronavirus cases in Canada, 32 cases in B.C., and one death in the country.