A non-invasive COVID-19 gargle test designed for children will now be available to adults in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.
The health region says the saline gargle can be used instead of the current test for adults that requires a long nasal swab to be inserted through the nose into the passageway between the nose and back of the throat. The gargle test will be available at Vancouver Coastal Health’s five testing sites in Vancouver, two in North Vancouver and two in Richmond.
On Wednesday, the provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, reported 10 deaths and 762 cases of COVID-19.
There are now 6,861 active cases of the disease in B.C., of which 209 were being treated in hospital with 58 in intensive care. This is a record for daily case counts, active case counts and hospitalizations. But the number of people in intensive care remains below the peak of 72 on April 6, in the early days of the pandemic.
Henry said there were 9,871 people in quarantine after being exposed to the disease. There have been 24,422 cases reported in B.C. and 320 deaths; 16,914 people who tested positive have recovered.
Of the cases reported between noon Tuesday and noon Wednesday, 38 were in the Interior Health region. Many of these cases are related to a cluster of over 20 cases in the small West Kootenay town of Salmo.
Fraser Health accounted for 63 per of the recent cases, a percentage that has fallen over the past few days as more cases appear in the smaller health regions.
Henry reported three new health-care facility outbreaks — at Agecare Harmony Court Estates in Burnaby, Menno Home in Abbotsford and at Peace Villa in Fort St. John. Fraser Health later added to that list, reporting outbreaks at the Cottage Worthington Pavilion in Abbotsford and in a unit at the Surrey Memorial Hospital.
Vancouver Coastal Health reported “enhanced surveillance” at the George Pearson rehabilitation centre in Vancouver after at least one staff member contracted the virus, but did not declare that an outbreak.
“This second surge is putting a strain on our health-care system, our workplaces and us all. We need to ease this pressure so we can continue to manage the virus in our province and also continue to do the many activities that are important to us,” she said.
“While your personal efforts may seem small or having little impact, the collective benefit to every community in every region is significant. Our safety layers are there to help protect us and they work best when we are all using them, all of the time.”
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