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Don't lie about having COVID-19 when calling 911 says Strang

'It's unfortunate that I have to say this, I almost have to shake my head that I have to talk about this publicly,' Strang said
An EHS ambulance (Meghan Groff/

The province's chief medical officer of health says people are calling 911 and lying about having COVID-19 symptoms, hoping that will help them get a faster response from emergency crews.

"Then when [responders] show up, with increased anxiety on the part of the crew, they've donned their special protective equipment, and low and behold, the person says they don't actually have COVID-19 symptoms," said Dr. Robert Strang at a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

He said 911's emergency triage process ensures members of the public will get a timely response based on the urgency of their situation.

"Saying you have COVID will not ensure in any way that you'll get faster attention," Strang said. "It causes unnecessary anxiety in EHS crews and it's a waste of resources of precious personal protective equipment."

"It's unfortunate that I have to say this," he added. "I almost have to shake my head that I have to talk about this publicly, but it's happening enough that I feel I need to."

Strang said anyone interacting with any level of the health care system needs to be honest about their situation.

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