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Surrey schools provided with COVID-19 gargle take-home kits

If a student in Surrey shows symptoms of COVID-19 while at school, they will be offered a take-home gargle test kit. EPA file

Schools in the Surrey School District are being provided with take-home COVID-19 mouth rinse/gargle sample collection kits.

As part of an initiative between Fraser Health, BC Children’s Hospital and the school district, the program hopes to provide students who become symptomatic while at school with quick access to tests, while preventing transmission in the school environment.

Twelve kits will be made available at all elementary and secondary schools in the district, Fraser Health said in a release.

They will be available to students exhibiting the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough or worsening of chronic cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting

“Providing schools with collection sample kits that kids can take home can help make testing children for COVID-19 more feasible for families,” BC Children’s medical microbiologist Dr. David Goldfarb said in a release. “The Fraser Health Authority is home to 42 per cent of children in the province and children can have diverse needs so being able to collect the sample in a familiar place can greatly reduce stress for them.”

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Fraser Health said when a student displays possible COVID-19 symptoms while at school, they will be safely isolated and their family will be contacted to pick them up.

They will be offered a take-home kit, which includes instructions on how to collect the sample at home and are a more comfortable alternative for children than the typical nasopharyngeal swab. Children should not eat, drink, brush their teeth, chew gum, smoke or vape for one hour prior to testing. The sample can then be dropped off at any LifeLabs location for processing.

Results should come back between 24 and 48 hours, Fraser Health said, and children should remain home until they receive a negative result.

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