New London

Fake Home COVID-19 Test Kits Seized From New London Store

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New London police are issuing a warning about scams related to the coronavirus pandemic after they said that they seized fake test kits from a convenience store.

New London Police Chief Peter Reichard posted the warning on Twitter on Monday with a picture of the test kits that were taken. He said that after his department received a tip Monday afternoon, officers seized a pack of 20 test kits that were being sold for $39.99 each. 

“They are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration so you don’t know what you have when you purchase something like this,” said Reichard. “It could be made haphazardly. It could be dangerous. It could be contaminated before you get it.”

Manager of the 7-Eleven on Broad Street in New London, Hussein Elsherif, said that he purchased the test kits on Monday from a man who, Elsherif said, showed him a document certifying that the kits were authorized for use in other countries. He said that he did not know that they were not authorized for sale in the U.S. He claims that he was told they were at-home antibody tests and said that he bought a pack of 20 for $400. 

“It should be that I do more investigation before I take it,” said Elsherif. “We sell pregnancy tests. I thought it was something like that. It was not a drug that you take or something.” 

According to Elsherif, police took the tests before anyone could buy one.

Chief Reichard said that it is an ongoing investigation and no charges have been placed. They have not received additional reports of tests being found in other convenience stores in the city. His biggest question surrounds where the tests are coming from.

“Who is producing them? Who is distributing them and how are they ending up in our communities?” Reichard said. 

A coronavirus testing site at Temple University's Ambler campus in Montgomery County expanded its criteria to include people dealing with stomach issues or a loss of smell and taste. It comes after doctors revealed new symptoms associated with COVID-19. NBC10's Aaron Baskerville has the details.

If you are showing symptoms of coronavirus, including a high fever, coughing or shortness of breath, you're urged to contact your doctor. You will need an order from a physician in order to be tested.

The Food and Drug Administration said it has not authorized any test that would allow residents to conduct antibody tests at home. 

According to the Department of Consumer Protection for the state, people should only seek testing for COVID-19 or for antibodies through their healthcare providers. 

“It is just not something that you are going to find at a drugstore over the counter. It is not something that you are going to find at a gas station and it is certainly not something that you are going to purchase online right now,” explained Lora Rae Anderson, Director of Communications for the DCP. 

Anderson added that it is common for people who are conducting scams to create fake certificates. 

The Connecticut Office of the Attorney General is also warning people against buying any sort of test. Attorney General William Tong said that his office is getting reports of scams related to testing kits, at-home testing, quick turn-around testing and fake cures and medical information.

“What is very scary about it is people are misrepresenting healthcare and healthcare products and that puts people at risk,” said Tong.

If you are showing symptoms of coronavirus, including a high fever, coughing or shortness of breath, you're urged to contact your doctor. You will need an order from a physician in order to be tested.

Coronavirus testing locations across the state can be found here.

Coronavirus Symptoms

The key symptoms of the coronavirus, according to the CDC are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Symptoms can appear in infected persons two to 14 days after exposure.

Coronavirus Prevention Steps

Steps for prevention from the CDC include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
    • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
    • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, such as to the grocery store
    • Coverings should not be placed on children under 2, anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
    • The face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected
    • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a health care worker
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Steps to Self-Monitor for Coronavirus

Steps to self-monitor from the CDC include:

  1. Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing.
  2. Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares during the time you are practicing social distancing.
  3. Avoid crowded places (such as shopping centers and movie theaters) and limit your activities in public.
  4. Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).

If you do get sick with a fever, cough or have trouble breathing, call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room and communicate with your doctor about your recent travel.

  • If you develop symptoms, stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school for this 14-day period. Discuss your work situation with your employer before returning to work.

The CDC has a special website set up with details about the coronavirus, including how it spreads and treatment.

Anyone with questions relating to coronavirus can call 2-1-1 or text "CTCOVID" to 898211. The 2-1-1 hotline is available 24 hours a day.

You can also visit the state's coronavirus information website here. Residents are encouraged to check the website for answers to questions before calling the hotline.

Learn More About Coronavirus - COVID-19

Learn more here from the state about Coronavirus.

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