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So long swabs: B.C. unveils new mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Click to play video 'B.C. researchers get world-wide attention for developing ‘gargle test’ for COVID-19' B.C. researchers get world-wide attention for developing ‘gargle test’ for COVID-19
B.C. researchers get world-wide attention for developing 'gargle test' for COVID-19

British Columbia has rolled out a new “made in B.C.” COVID-19 test for kids that will no longer require an uncomfortable nasal swab.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the test at her Thursday briefing, adding the plan is to eventually make the new test available for everyone.

Click to play video 'Dr. Bonnie Henry announces innovative mouth rinse COVID-19 test for kids' Dr. Bonnie Henry announces innovative mouth rinse COVID-19 test for kids
Dr. Bonnie Henry announces innovative mouth rinse COVID-19 test for kids

The new “mouth rinse/gargle” test is available for people aged four to 18 years old and involves swishing and gargling a sterile saltwater solution, then spitting it into a collection tube.

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Read more: Video aims to take the scary out of swabbing for kids getting tested

As of Thursday, it is available at the province’s existing COVID-19 assessment centres, and parents or kids will be able to perform it themselves, rather than requiring a health-care worker.

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“It’s an easier way to collect it for young people,” said Henry.

The province partnered with a B.C. company to develop the test, which Henry said was among the first of its kind in the world.

Read more: Coronavirus: COVID-19 cases in B.C. schools will be posted online, says province

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With school back in session, and the corresponding need to act quickly to stop any possible transmission, Henry said rolling the test out to children and teens first was a priority.

“We want to have it available for everybody, but right now the focus is on children for reasons of supply,” she said.

You can find out more about the new test, or where to find a COVID-19 assessment centre at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website.