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


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusRCMPSeniors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lost dog reunited with family three months after going missing along Juan de Fuca trail

‘The poor thing was skin and bones,’ says one of the Sooke rescuers

Victoria family donates 878 falafel wraps to support Beirut blast victims

Wrap and Roll pulls in $20,500 during weekend fundraiser

Reimagined campaign continues to make Vancouver Island wishes come true

#UnWinedOutside allows participants to support Make-A-Wish Foundation, local businesses

Laid-off hotel workers begin hunger strike demanding job protection

Laid-off workers not sure what they’ll do when government support programs end

Police investigating string of break-ins at closed Saanich care home

Electronics, tools reported stolen from Mount Tolmie Hospital

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Nanaimo woman will buy ‘supersonic’ hair dryer after $500,000 lotto win

Debra Allen won $500,000 in July 28 Lotto Max draw

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

Cougar euthanized after attacking little dog in Qualicum area

Owner freed pet by whacking big cat, but dog didn’t survive the attack

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Internet-famous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and more

Most Read