Mask hysteria: Ad for masks on Calgary Facebook page plays on coronavirus fears
Alberta Health says there is still a low risk of anyone catching the novel coronavirus here and no one needs to buy masks to protect themselves. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)
CALGARY -- An advertisement posted on a Calgary Facebook page has drawn attention after it appeared to charge a massive markup on the equipment meant to protect people from contracting the Wuhan novel coronavirus.
The ad, which has seen been removed, was posted on a Calgary buy and sell community's page.
Images of the post, that purported to charge $750 for a pack of 20 N95 masks, were shared on Reddit Thursday.
"Don't let you or your family die like the rest of society during this epidemic!" the original ad read. "Buy these masks today and show your family that they're worth it!"
Many comments on the Reddit post have already panned the advertisement, calling it "price gouging" and "ridiculous."
Albertans don't need to buy masks
Alberta Health says there is still a low risk to residents from the coronavirus as no cases, presumptive or confirmed, have been found here.
Furthermore, the ministry says there is no need for anyone in Alberta to buy masks at all.
"If you are healthy, medical masks are not recommended as they don't provide full protection and can create a false sense of security," it said in a statement to CTV News.
Officials say it's much more likely for Albertans to get sick from influenza or the common cold, especially with it being flu season. The best protection against getting sick is good hygiene and, when it comes to influenza, getting your flu shot.
"This includes frequent handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes. This is the best way to protect yourself from the novel coronavirus, the flu and other respiratory viruses."
Meanwhile, London Drugs stores in Alberta admit they've had a "higher than usual interest" in face masks because of the coronavirus outbreak.
"Our supplies have been sold out in many locations and additional stock has been ordered. We continue to order and restock our shelves if available," a spokesperson wrote in an email to CTV News.
"There has always been public interest in using face masks during most flu seasons, although with the recent Coronavirus news we are seeing an increased demand and we are working to meet that demand."
28 Albertans tested for coronavirus
The province has also released information on the results of tests for coronavirus being done on Albertans who have recently returned to the province from Wuhan, China.
It says 28 tests have been completed and all have come back negative.
The pneumonia outbreak, attributed to the novel coronavirus, was identified on Dec. 31, 2019.
To date, it has killed over 600 people and infected over 30,000 people worldwide. The World Health Organization declared it a global health emergency last week.
There are seven confirmed or probable cases of the illness in Canada.
Albertans looking for more information on the coronavirus can go to the government's website.