B.C. students will avoid nose swab COVID-19 tests and spit instead | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. students will avoid nose swab COVID-19 tests and spit instead

A Fraser Health healthcare worker tests a patient at a drive through COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., Monday, April 6, 2020.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
September 17, 2020 - 4:46 PM

A new “rinse and spit” process has been created in B.C. to collect samples for testing for COVID-19, but for now it is only being offered to students from kindergarten to Grade 12.

Instead of having a nasal swab taken by a health care worker, the sample is a simple saline solution that is rinsed in the mouth and spat into a tube. It can be collected by the students themselves, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said at a news briefing today, Sept. 17.

“We have limited supplies so, to start with, we’ve focused on children,” she said. “It’s going to be critical for children, if they start showing symptoms of COVID-19 and they’re in a school setting, many of them will to need to get tested so it’s a way of trying to facilitate that and make that easier.”

Younger children, especially, don’t take well to the nasal swab so this will make it easier to collect those samples.

The test was developed in B.C. so there are no concerns about battling global competition for supplies, Dr. Henry added.

The samples, when tested, are just as accurate as the current method. It’s just quicker and easier to collect, she said.

During the briefing, Dr. Henry said there have been no outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools. Some staff and students have tested positive but there were no high-risk exposures.

The saline solutions will be more widely available in the future, but for the next few weeks they will only be available for school children.

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