The massive screening operation which took place on Tuesday in a secondary school in Beauce was carried out thanks to a new gargle test, which will be accessible to all citizens of Chaudière-Appalaches within a few days.
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All second-secondary students at Saint-François high school in Beauceville were invited to come and take a COVID-19 screening test on Tuesday. The establishment currently has 35 positive cases, including 29 among students. Ten groups are currently in isolation.
However, rather than having a sample taken from the back of the nose and throat with a long rod, the students had to gargle with a small amount of natural spring water before spitting it out into a small cup.
Its contents were then transferred to a tube, ready to be analyzed in the laboratory.
This test, much less intrusive, was developed by Dr Jeannot Dumaresq, microbiologist-infectious disease specialist at Hôtel-Dieu de Lévis. It has been used in a screening center in Lévis since last week and in Montmagny since the beginning of the week.
“In the coming days, all citizens of the region will have access to it,” indicates Mireille Gaudreau, public relations officer for the CISSS de Chaudière-Appalaches.
This gargle test, which has been approved by the Ministry of Health, has several advantages, says Mme Gaudreau.
No specialized medical equipment is required or special skills, unlike swab collection, which must be done by health network personnel. “Gargling is much more pleasant to do compared to a swab,” adds Mme Gaudreau.
Not in Quebec yet
However, this saliva test is not yet available in the Capitale-Nationale region.
The regional public health directorate indicates that it is participating in discussions taking place with the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec concerning the possibility “of including the test by saliva sample in the screening plan for the coronavirus”, specified the one of its spokespersons, Annie Ouellet.