A new made-in-B.C. test will soon be available for children and youth to help make COVID-19 testing easier and more comfortable, the province’s top doctor has announced.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told reporters Thursday (Sept. 18) that B.C. will be one of the first places in the world to implement a new saline gargle test to diagnose the novel coronavirus.
“Unlike the [nasal] swab, this is a new saline gargle where you put a little bit of saline water, that is sterile water, in your mouth, you swish it around and spit it into a little tube,” she explained.
“This test is kind of cool and something we’ve had in the works for a while. This new method is more comfortable, particularly for our younger children.”
Henry said the new alternative will soon be made available to health officials across the province, noting the test has some key benefits ahead of influenza season: it is more efficient and can be done without a doctor or nurse involved.
Currently, the province has been using a nasal swab test – the gold standard for confirming if someone has COVID-19 – which involves putting a six-inch long Q-tip into the cavity between the nose and mouth for 15 seconds and then rotating it several times. A swab is repeated on the other side of the nose.
For now, the test will be available for those aged four to 18.
The less-intrusive swab comes as B.C. sees an ongoing rise in daily COVID-19 cases. There have been a total 7,663 confirmed cases in B.C. since January.
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