FILE – Hospital transfer workers are seen outside the Lynn Valley Centre care home in North Vancouver, B.C. on April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

COVID-19 ‘hoax call’ to B.C. long-term care home leads to arrest

Centre said it received a phone call that ‘appeared to originate from health authorities’

The long-term care centre that saw B.C.’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a health-care setting has revealed it was the target of a hoax call in March.

The Lynn Valley Care Centre had 52 residents and 26 staff contract the virus, and a male resident was the first in Canada to die of COVID-19. He was followed by 19 more resident deaths at the care centre before the outbreak was declared over in early May.

READ MORE: B.C. records first COVID-19 death in Canada as province hits 32 cases

In an open letter released Tuesday (July 21), the centre said it received a phone call that “appeared to originate from health authorities” on March 8, shortly after its outbreak began.

While the content of the phone call is currently the subject of an RCMP investigation, the centre said the call “deeply alarmed our staff.”

The centre said it took action immediately but that by the next day, officials learned the call was a hoax.

“It caused needless fear among residents and their families,” the centre said. “It created apprehension among our staff who, just like the majority of Canadians five months ago, knew little about the disease and its dangers, became reluctant to come to work. That call kicked us while we were down, really down.”

The centre said one person has recently been arrested in connection to the hoax call.

READ MORE: Daughter of man at B.C. care home hit by COVID-19 says loneliness is a big issue


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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