“It’s one of the first of its kind in the world,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer for British Columbia, at a press conference Thursday.
The BC Center for Disease Control says the new test is just as accurate as tests using a nasal swab and is much easier to administer to children.
The announcement comes at a time when testing is in high demand: Canada has seen the number of new daily cases double in the past month. And while experts are still studying the role children play in transmitting Covid-19, a recent report suggests that they can – and do – spread the virus, even if they have mild or no symptoms.
“It’s a new saline gargle where you put a little bit of normal saline, so sterile water, in your mouth and spin it around a bit and you spit it out into a little tube and that’s one more way. easy to collect it for young people, ”said Dr Henry.
Although the sample still needs to be transported to a laboratory for processing, the test does not need to be administered by a healthcare professional.
The test occurs when the numbers go up
The country’s seven-day average for new Covid-19 cases edged up to 849 on Friday, and public health officials said Canadians under 40 were fueling the surge in cases. That’s a 123% increase from a month ago, when the seven-day average was 380.
“The continued increase in the daily number of cases nationwide is an indicator of accelerated epidemic growth,” Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said at a press conference on Friday. . “This situation increases the likelihood that we will lose the ability to maintain Covid-19 at manageable levels. ”
Canada’s positivity rate remains at 1.4% as testing ramps up, but public health officials fear cases are rising too quickly to properly test, contact and isolate positive cases.
“The other indicators to watch out for are hospitalizations and intensive care units, they’re low at the moment, but again, if there are any signs that things are going up, this is another indicator we could go to. in the wrong direction, ”said Dr Tam.
Canadian provincial leaders say they are fed up with young people recklessly congregating in restaurants, bars, private homes and even parks and beaches.
“Every week, we see images in the bars, there are full dance floors, all kinds of things are happening in the bars”, declared Geneviève Guilbault, Minister of Public Security of Quebec during a conference of press Friday in Quebec.
Quebec announced a large-scale police operation for this weekend, saying law enforcement officials would visit more than 1,000 bars and restaurants to make sure owners and patrons are complying with regulations. health matters.
“We must use all the tools and all the gestures at our disposal to avoid a second wave of Covid in Quebec,” added Guilbault.