It appears that some Canadians are still uninformed about the severity of COVID-19, after a posting surfaced on a B.C. community message board by a family looking to contract the virus.
The online ad appeared on a local Revelstoke classified website last week, appealing to anyone who had tested positive for the virus.
“We are a healthy family and we would like to safely expose ourselves to the virus, to help build our natural immunity,” the posting read. “We can house you for a night or however long it takes, and will provide all of your meals.”
It went on to ask for suggestions on the easiest way to transmit the virus, and states they were unsuccessful in transmission with their first COVID-19 guest. They assumed they would have to use saliva directly, though they preferred not to.
The ad states the poster will “take care of you” and offers money in exchange for the virus. It ends with a plea for no hate mail.
The ad has since been taken down from the site.
In a video posted to Youtube, Revelstoke Mayor Gary Sulz addressed the posting.
“People, you’re playing with a loaded gun,” he said. “That loaded gun may not be pointed at you, it may be pointed at your family or to someone in the community.”
He encouraged members of his community to stay away from people who’ve tested positive for COVID-19. The mayor also discouraged people from visiting the town for non-essential travel while the pandemic is still active. He added they’d be happily welcomed back once things are back to normal.
COVID isn’t like chickenpox
On Wednesday, Interior Health’s chief medical health officer Dr. Albert de Villiers told reporters that they were aware of chickenpox parties, where families with infested children visit another family to spread the disease in an attempt to spread the disease. He said this wasn’t a sound idea in regards to COVID-19 since it’s unknown how bad it can get for each individual.
"Most people will have a relatively mild form of the disease...but there are people, relatively healthy people, that can develop complications. We've had people throughout Canada of all ages that have passed away," he said.
The tiny mountain town in southeastern B.C. is known for its ski resort and relies on a seasonal boost in population from visitors and tourists.
Interior Health, the regional health authority, confirmed this week a community cluster of 46 cases in Revelstoke. That number was a spike from the initial reports of 22 cases last week, which went up to 29 by last Friday.
Between January and November 1 of this year, there were only three known cases of the virus in Revelstoke. While there aren’t any patients with COVID-19 at the Revelstoke hospital, the facility is only equipped with 13 hospital beds and two rooms with ventilators.