Nova Scotia

Saline gargle COVID-19 test approved for children in Nova Scotia

The saline gargle test that was recently adopted in British Columbia has now been validated in Nova Scotia for testing in children.

Province says planning to start saline gargle testing is underway

A new mouth rinse test for COVID-19 has been introduced in B.C. to make testing more accessible for children. The gargle test has now been validated for children in Nova Scotia. (BCCDC file photo)

Children in Nova Scotia are one step closer to accessing the swish, gargle and spit test for COVID-19.

Marla MacInnis, spokesperson for the Nova Scotia Department of Health, confirmed on Thursday afternoon that the saline gargle test has been validated in Nova Scotia for use in children.

"Planning for its implementation is underway and more details will be available soon," she said in an email.

As of last week, there were not enough cases in the province to validate the testing method.

Dr. Todd Hatchette, the chief of service for microbiology in the Nova Scotia Health Authority's central zone, said at the time that they were working with colleagues in British Columbia to get specimens in order to corroborate the gargle test.

WATCH | B.C. approves COVID-19 rinse and spit test for children:

B.C. approves COVID-19 rinse-and-spit test for children

3 years ago
Duration 1:29
British Columbia approves a new COVID-19 test for children that has them swish and gargle salt water then spit it into a tube as an alternative to the nose swab test.

This comes after the return to school has caused frustration around wait times for booking a COVID-19 test and Thursday's announcement that people can now do a COVID-19 self-assessment online to help ease the call volume to 811.

Parents have also been calling for Nova Scotia to move to another method of testing, especially for young children who may have common cold symptoms and required a COVID test.

The most accurate form of COVID-19 testing is done through a nasal swab.

The newly validated gargle and spit test originated in B.C. Patients take sterile salt water, swish it around their mouth, gargle with it and after repeating three times, spitting it into a tube.

Hatchette said the B.C. study found that the gargle samples had a sensitivity of 98 per cent, making them better at detecting COVID than saliva samples when patients simply spat into a tube.

In B.C. the gargle test are only available to children between the ages of four and 19.