COVID-19 gargle test now available for adults in southwest B.C.

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A saline gargle test is now available for adults in southwest B.C. who require a COVID-19 test.

The test is currently available across the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island at community COVID-19 collection sites.

The test was first made available to school-age children in B.C. in September. It is less invasive than the swab test currently used to test for most COVID-19 cases.

"Unlike the nasopharyngeal swab, this is a new saline gargle, where you put a little bit of normal saline — so, the 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," said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in September.

B.C. health officials announced 717 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 11 more deaths.

The numbers mark the highest single-day totals for new cases and deaths, the greatest number of people in hospital and the heaviest active caseload to date.