Most children in British Columbia can now say goodbye to those icky swabs and uncomfortable Covid-19 tests as the province launches a new gargle method for students ages 4 to 19.
“It is one of the first of its kind around the world,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s provincial health officer at a news conference Thursday.
The BC Centre for Disease Control said the new test is just as accurate as tests using a nasal swab and is much easier to administer for children.
“This is a new saline gargle where you put a little bit of normal saline, so sterile water, in your mouth and you swish it around a little bit and you spit it into a little tube and that’s an easier way to collect it for young people,” said Henry.
Public health officials in British Columbia say they compared test results in both children and adults and found the rate of Covid-19 detection was very similar between the nasal swab and the new gargle test.
British Columbia is prioritizing children for the new test but hopes to expand to adults in the coming weeks.
While the sample will still have to be taken to a lab for processing, the test does not have to be administered by a health care professional.
With the majority of students in Canada are now attending school in person, Covid-19 testing is in high demand as Canada has seen a doubling of new daily cases in the last month.