The mouth rinse and gargle test for COVID-19, once reserved for school-aged children, is now available for adults as well. It can be requested at the drive-through testing site at the Complex Clinic, or if you are being tested at the Emergency Room.
This test requires patients to gargle and swish a saline solution for 30 seconds, which makes it a good option for people who are concerned about the discomfort a nasal swab may cause. Most people find the swab test uncomfortable (can make your eyes water), rather than painful, but experiences vary.
Please note that if you request a saline test you cannot eat, drink, chew gum, brush your teeth, smoke or vape for at least one hour prior to the test. This overview of the process from the BC Centre for Disease Control outlines what to expect: http://www.bccdc.ca/Health-Info-Site/Documents/COVID_GargleSpit_Adults_instructions.pdf
Though the wider accessibility of the saline test is being celebrated, the original swab test does still have some advantages:
- The swab test is faster, taking just 10 seconds and little instruction
- The swab test has no restrictions around eating or smoking
- There is less plastic waste with the swab test
Please remember …
Testing is recommended for anyone with potential symptoms of COVID-19.
For a complete list of COVID-19 symptoms, and access to the BC Centre for Disease Control’s self-assessment tool visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/about-covid-19/symptoms
For non-urgent health advice, please call 811 (at any hour), or call your family physician or nurse practitioner’s office during regular office hours.
Testing is NOT recommended for those without symptoms, regardless of possible contacts (unless required by Public Health staff).
“Drive-thru” COVID-19 testing is available at the Powell River Complex Clinic, which is located at the upper entrance to the Powell River Recreation Complex. Testing is offered 7 days a week, from 8:30 am -11:30 am.
To schedule a test time, please go to https://www.prcomplexclinic.com (preferred), or call 604-485-2028. Appointment times are either same-day or within 24 hours.
People without internet or phone access can be registered on-site. Those without a vehicle are also welcome. Testing appointments take just minutes.
People with more serious symptoms, those who need to see a physician, or those who don’t want to wait for a drive-thru appointment, are encouraged to go to the Emergency Room at the hospital (come to the ambulance bay doors).
Swabs are transferred once daily (in the afternoon) for processing in Vancouver. If you have possible COVID-19 symptoms, it is important to self-isolate at home until you confirm a negative result so you don’t unknowingly spread this virus. This includes the time before testing, and while waiting for your result. In most cases, test results are available in 24-48 hours.