As COVID-19 cases continue to spike in the province — Thursday, the province reported a record high 165 new cases — BC Public Health announced a new method of testing now available for children.
During Thursday’s COVID-19 media briefing, Dr. Bonnie Henry said the new test available for children is a saline mouth rinse and gargle sample.
“Today, a new made-in-B.C. sample collection program has been launched for all K-12 students across the province,” Dr. Henry said at the media briefing.
“One of the first of its kind worldwide,” Dr. Henry added.
Dr. Henry said the test is for school-aged children four to 19, is a mouth-rinse gargle is now available at COVID-19 collection centres around the province.
“Unlike the nasopharyngeal swab method, this new saline method doesn't require a health-care professional to collect the sample,” Dr. Henry said.
"Taking the step to get tested is how you protect your friends and loved ones, and for K-12 students there is now an easier alternative,” Dr. Henry added.
"Not only is the new method more comfortable for younger people, a B.C. company will provide the collection tube, reducing the province's dependency on the global supply chain for this sample method.”
Interior Health said the new test is now available at testing sites in the region.
For adults, Nasal swabs will continue to be used Interior Health said.
Thursday Dr. Henry said announced 165 new cases, including two epi-linked cases, for a total of 7,663 cases in British Columbia.
"There are 1,705 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, 2,949 people who are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases, and 5,719 people who tested positive have recovered,” she said.
"Currently, 57 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19, 22 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.”
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 2,714 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 3,937 in the Fraser Health region, 196 in the Island Health region, 489 in the Interior Health region, 241 in the Northern Health region and 86 cases of people who reside outside of Canada.
"Dr. Henry said there has been one new COVID-19 related death, for a total of 220 deaths in British Columbia, and offers condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Henry said there are two new health-care facility outbreaks, one at Delta Hospital and one at Peace Arch Hospital, both in the Fraser Health region — in total, 11 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and five acute-care facilities have active outbreaks.
She said there has been one new health-care facility outbreak at Delta Hospital in the Fraser Health region. In total, 11 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and four acute-care facilities have active outbreaks.
Dr. Henry said there have been no new community outbreaks, although there continue to be community exposure events.
Alerts are posted on the BC Centre for Disease Control's (BCCDC) website, as well as on health authorities' websites, providing details on where the potential exposure occurred and what actions to take - whether you need to self-isolate or monitor for symptoms.
For schools, public health teams will contact individuals through contact tracing, and schools will continue to issue alerts when a school exposure has occurred and action is required. Supporting these protocols, the BCCDC website and health authorities are also publishing notifications.
In School District 20, Kootenay Columbia, a student case COVID-19 exposure was reported at Stanley Humphries in Castlegar Friday, September 11, 2020.
“Containing the spread of the virus in our communities is core to our COVID-19 response and that is why getting tested as soon as you have symptoms is so important,” Dr. Henry said.