B.C. sets record with 165 new COVID-19 cases, introduces gargle test for students

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — B.C. set a record with 165 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, when it also unveiled a new gargle test for students.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the new mouth-rinse gargle test is available now for ages four to 19 at assessment centres around the province and is an easier alternative than nasal or oral swabs.

“It is one of the first of its kind around the world for school-aged children and B.C. for those aged four to 19,” she said.

“This is a new saline gargle, where you put a little bit of normal saline, so sterile water in your mouth, 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,” Henry added.

A B.C. company will provide the collection tubes for the new test.

“And that this reduces our dependency as a province on the global supply chain, which we know has been one of the challenges are particularly around our lab testing,” she said.

“Taking the step to get tested is how you protect your friends, your family, and your community.”

Henry also reiterated her plea for British Columbias to adhere to health and safety protocols and keep their social circles to the same six people or less as case counts continue to soar.

The previous single-day case record was 139, set last week. Cases in B.C. now total 7,663.


The province also reported one death on Thursday, the 220th overall. It happened in long-term care in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

Henry also confirmed an outbreak in the acute care unit Delta Hospital, as well as another in the rehabilitation unit at Peace Arch Hospital.

That brings our total number of active outbreaks now to 15 in the healthcare sector,” she said.

Later in the day, Fraser Health confirmed it was a patient that tested positive for COVID-19.

“The outbreak is limited to one unit, which is temporarily closed to admissions,” a statement from the health authority reads.

Henry reported no other outbreaks, although she acknowledged exposures in schools since students returned to classrooms. A website is coming soon to notify parents of COVID-19 cases and exposures within the B.C. school system, although one for the Fraser Health Region is also set up.

Of 1,705, active cases in B.C., 57 people are in hospital, including 22 in intensive care.

Another 2,949 people under active public health monitoring, while 5,719, who have recovered from COVID-19 — a rate of 75 per cent.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today