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Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw update on COVID-19 and the ongoing work to protect public health in Edmonton, August 31, 2020. Government of Alberta photo

The news came the day after British Columbia announced school children showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus would be able to access a new test requiring children to gargle and swish saltwater in their mouth for about 20 seconds before spitting into a container.

The province’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said the test method had been validated and “works just as well” as a nasopharyngeal swab.

To date, Alberta has performed nearly 1.2 million COVID-19 tests on more than 900,000 Albertans, meaning about one in every five Albertans have been tested for the virus at least once.

A nurse sanitizes hands of those in the line up for walk-in COVID-19 testing at the Richmond Road Diagnostic and Treatment Centre on Thursday, July 9, 2020.

As children return to school in Alberta, more youth are testing positive for the coronavirus. Of the 985 new cases reported in Alberta from Sept. 11 to 17, 18 per cent were in people from ages 5 to 19. Those age 20-29 continue to drive the rise in COVID-19 cases in Alberta, with more than one-in-five new cases in the same time span in the age group.

Some of those cases involve children in schools, with the provincial government confirming Friday 78 cases within 57 Alberta schools. That includes seven Calgary schools with two or more confirmed cases, and one — St. Wilfrid Elementary School — placed under ‘watch’ status with five or more cases.

Hinshaw also announced Friday the first suspected instance of in-school transmission in Alberta, at Edmonton’s Waverley elementary school.

Also Friday, Alberta reported 107 new cases of the coronavirus Thursday from about 11,300 tests — about a 0.9 per cent positive rate, and the second-lowest single-day count in the province in more than three weeks,

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