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BC Is Running 'Critically Low' On COVID-19 Test Swabs After Testing Thousands

Swabs are handed out based on priority.
COVID-19 Test in BC: Shortage Of Swabs In The Province After Thousands Are Tested

There's now a shortage of swabs in the province after thousands of COVID-19 tests in B.C. Health authorities say they're trying their hardest to secure more supplies. In the meantime, they say there are enough swabs right now for everyone who needs them.

"Swab supply is critically limited and swabs are being distributed in order of priority populations to be tested," wrote the BCCDC on their website.

Their usual swabs for testing the nasal passages and throat are really important for COVID-19 testing to go smoothly. People suspecting they have the virus are expected to submit a sample for testing. You can order the swabs online, but they said they're giving them out based on priority.

"Every effort is being made to get more swabs," said B.C. health minister Adrian Dix to CBC, explaining that the government's trying to either find more or develop a better alternative.

Despite running "critically low" on supplies, the Provincial Health Services Authority told Narcity that there are enough swabs for "everyone who needs it."

"People with mild symptoms who can recover on their own at home don't need testing because the medical care and advice is the same regardless of whether they test positive or not," they said.

They also assured that alternatives to the usual swabs exist.

"In the event of shortages, there are other types of swabs available, such as those used for STI testing, that might be used to test for COVID-19," they said.

Even earlier in the outbreak, B.C. prided itself on its response to COVID-19; they even claimed to have tested more people in the province than the entire U.S.

They've not been slouching since then, either. As of Friday, March 13, the BCCDC says they've tested 6,326 individuals.

Out of everyone tested, they caught 103 confirmed cases, as of Monday, March 15. There are a total of four deaths in the province.

As a result, B.C. has been taking on aggressive measures to curb the spread, like discouraging locals from travelling internationally or indefinitely closing school for kids.

If you're worried about having novel coronavirus, BCCDC is asking you to try screening yourself online first or calling their information hotline before stepping into the clinic.

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