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Saliva tests coming to Ontario hospitals this week

Covid-19 samples sit in a refrigerator at a LifeLabs testing facility in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. Ontario Public Health has tapped private labs to help reach their testing goal of 16,000 per day. Photographer: Cole Burston/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Saliva COVID-19 tests will be tested at three hospitals in Ontario this week, Premier Doug Ford confirmed Tuesday.

The tests will be used at Women’s College Hospital, the University Health Network and Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.

A senior government source confirms to CityNews the tests will be similar to what is being offered in British Columbia and they do not need Health Canada approval, however they still need to be sent to a lab to be analyzed.

B.C. introduced a new saline gargle test last week for students from kindergarten to Grade 12 to help make COVID-19 testing easier for children and teenagers.

Private and public health officials had said last week that a saliva-based COVID-19 test is likely to be available this fall.

Public Health Ontario’s chief of microbiology and laboratory science says the test will be useful for children and others unable to tolerate a nasal swab.