Yukon's chief medical officer says the territory is looking to adopt a new method of COVID-19 testing that's being introduced in B.C.
Last week, B.C. announced it was introducing a new mouth rinse, gargle and spit test for students from kindergarten to Grade 12 to help make it easier for children and teenagers to check whether they have COVID-19. The test was developed in that province as an alternative to nasal swabs.
Yukon Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brendan Hanley said the technique seems promising.
"We're working with our B.C. lab partners to see just how we could add this option to our testing in Yukon," Hanley said Wednesday at his weekly pandemic update.
"With this less-invasive test for children, it may be a kinder option for kids who might have to be tested multiple times over the fall and winter months," he said.
B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the made-in-B.C. product will reduce her province's dependency on the global supply chain for lab testing. The test can be done without a health professional and by parents or children themselves.
Nova Scotia is also looking to implement the new testing method, but health officials there said right now there aren't enough cases in that province to confirm the testing method.
There is currently one active case in Nova Scotia, and none in Yukon.
Longer hours at testing centre
Meanwhile, Yukon's COVID-19 Testing Centre (CTC) in Whitehorse — formerly referred to as the Respiratory Assessment Centre — will now have longer hours. Hanley says it's one way to prepare for increased demand as the flu season begins.
The centre in Whitehorse will now be open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week. Referrals are no longer required to get a test at the centre.
Hanley also said the health department is working to find more staff for the facility after some shortages.
"There were some challenges this past week with backfilling staff at the CTC," he said.
"The department of Health and Social Services is working with human resources to develop a reliable on-call staffing pool, and we're confident in our ability to provide testing seven days a week."