COVID-19 (Coronavirus) PCR, Legacy HealthEast

Epic Code:LAB4500Epic Name:Covid-19 Virus PCR
Synonyms:Coronavirus (2019-nCoV); COV19
Turnaround Time:Results are reported within 48 hours for acute hospital sites and presurgical patients, and within 72 hours for all other locations.
NOTE: STAT orders are not available. All specimens follow prioritization as determined by the COVID Command Center.
Special Instructions:Routine respiratory testing does not test for Coronavirus (2019-nCoV); however routine testing should continue to take place if ordered. Routine respiratory assays include:
  • Influenza A/B Antigen (LAB924)
  • RSV Rapid Antigen (LAB495)
  • Influenza A and B/RSV PCR (LAB2240)
  • Respiratory Panel PCR, Nasopharyngeal (LAB3232)

These guidelines are for Legacy HealthEast locations. Please refer to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) PCR, Legacy Fairview for Legacy Fairview ordering information.
Associated Links:

MLS Updates, Coronavirus CDC Specimen Guidelines, CDC Evaluation and Reporting Persons Under Investigation, HAN Guidelines, Alternate Covid Swabs and Transport Containers, COVID PCR FAQ for Clinicians, COVID EUA Information

Collection Instructions

Specimen:Nasopharyngeal, Oropharyngeal, Middle Turbinate or nasal swab collection in Universal Transport Media. Nasopharyngeal swab has a greater sensitivity for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) detection is the preferred sample type.
Container:BD Universal Transport Media (Alternate Covid Swabs and Transport Containers. See Associated Link)
Collection Instructions:Collect swab and place in 1-3 mL of viral transport media (BD Universal Transport Media). Other COVID supplies are acceptable but not preferred. See Alternate COVID Swabs and Transport Container in Associated Links for additional options. 

Only a synthetic fiber swab with plastic shaft is acceptable. Indicate specimen source on container and place each specimen in an individually sealed bag.

Specimen process and testing required for all respiratory specimens.
  • Gloves, lab coat/gown
  • Eye and face protection
    • Biological Safety Cabinet (BSC), or
    • In the absence of a BSC, handle all respiratory specimens behind a countertop splashguard or don a full-face shield.
    • In the absence of a full-face shield or countertop splashguard, goggles and a disposable mask must be worn.
Causes for Rejection:Calcium alginate swabs or swabs with wooden shafts. Specimens not in viral transport media.

Processing and Shipping

Specimen Processing:Specimen source is required. Store refrigerated.
Shipping Instructions:Ship refrigerated. All specimens should  be batched and sent via the UMMC-East Bank Core Laboratory. Specimens collected at Midway, Maplewood, Woodbury Clinics should continue to route to St. Joseph's Hospital Laboratory.

Specimens must be packaged, shipped and transported according to the current edition of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulation.
Priority Epic Order Type Transport
  • Asymptomatic/Symptomatic OB induction or Labor (Admitted/In-Patient Unit);
  • Asymptomatic-Emergent surgery or Transplant
RED stat bag with Priority CV19 Specimen label
Ship at refrigerated temp
  • Asymptomatic-Inpatient behavioral admission
  • Asymptomatic-Discharge planning
  • Symptomatic-Current inpatient/hospitalized patient (PUI)
  • Symptomatic-in ED plan to admit (PUI)
PURPLE bag with Priority CV19 Specimen label
Ship at refrigerated temp
  • Asymptomatic-Presurgical, Pre-infusion, Pre-induction/c-section (include green label with procedure date/time on specimen
  • Employee Testing
  • Symptomatic-in ED plan to discharge home
  • Symptomatic or Asymptomatic Other (Ambulatory)
  • OnCare Referral
GREEN bag with Standard Shipping label
Ship at room temp
Stability:72 hours refrigerated or room temperature. Samples may be frozen at less than -20 degrees C if shipping is delayed.
Test Performed at or Referral Lab (Infectious Diseases Diagnostic Lab (UMMC-East) or Lab Sendouts (UMMC-East MRF), Minnesota Dept of Health, or Mayo)


Reference Range:Negative or not detected.

Click HERE to Report test errors or omissions.
*If no email program is associated with this computer, please contact: for TestID: 6818"