Canada launches its new COVID-19 gargle test in British Columbia (B.C.) since its announcement on Thursday, September 17. Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer said at a press conference on the same date that the new test method is “one of the first of its kind around the world.” The B.C. Centre for Disease Control stated that the gargle test is as accurate as the nasal swab test and is easier to conduct on children. “This is a new saline gargle where you put a little bit of normal saline, so sterile water, in your mouth and you swish it around a little bit and you spit it into a little tube and that’s an easier way to collect it for young people,” explained Dr. Henry. Children aged 4 to 19 are priority for the gargle test, but B.C. plans to expand it to adults in the coming weeks.

The testing became in-demand when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S. released a report on September 11. The report stated that children with mild to no symptoms are capable of spreading the virus. Dr. Cuc Tran of CDC wrote, “COVID-19 is less severe in children than it is in adults, but children can still play a role in transmission.” Since August, Canada has experienced a 123% increase in COVID-19 cases of patients aged 39 and below. However, Canada’s positivity rate remains at 1.4% now that the new gargle test is being implemented.