Abbrev Code:SARS-COV2 RT-PCR   
Order Code:LAB2000  
Synonyms:Covid; Coronavirus (2019-nCoV); COV19
CPT Codes: 87635 x1
Turnaround Time:Routine results are reported within 48 hours of receipt at the testing site.  STAT results are reported within 3 hours of receipt in the testing.
Special Instructions:Routine respiratory testing does not test for Coronavirus (2019-nCoV); however routine testing should continue to take place if ordered.
Associated Links:

MLS Updates, Coronavirus CDC Guidelines, COVID EUA Information

Collection Instructions

Specimen:COVID-19 (Coronavirus) testing requires a Nasopharyngeal, Oropharyngeal, Middle Turbinate or nasal swab collection in Universal Transport Media. Nasopharyngeal swab has a greater sensitivity for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) detection and is the preferred sample.
Do not share specimens with other testing.
Container:BD Universal Transport Media
Alternate Containers: Alternate Covid Swabs and Transport Containers. See Associated Link., Hologic Direct Load Tube
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 Container for 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.

Only one specimen is accepted per 72 hour period.

Swabs only: If sending via PTS, the specimen must be placed in a lab specimen bag with an absorbent pad and then placed into another lab specimen 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 a countertop splashguard, goggles and a disposable mask must be worn.

Our laboratories are finding that when testing COVID-19 samples, an occasional invalid test result or failed test run occurs due to mucus in the patient sample. When this happens, the sample or entire run must be tested on an alternate platform, which results in a longer turnaround time.

The best sample is nasopharyngeal with epithelial cells. If the patient is exhibiting congestion with a large amount of mucus, please have the patient blow their nose and deposit the tissue in regular waste prior to collecting the specimen.

Note: Hologic Direct Load tube must be used with Aptima Multitest Specimen Collection Swab (Pink).  
Causes for Rejection:  ESwabs, 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.
Specimens must be packed, shipped and transported according to the current edition of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulation.
Stability:72 hours refrigerated. Samples may be frozen at less than -20 degrees C if shipping is delayed.
Test Performed at or Referral Lab (Infectious Diseases Diagnostic Lab-Micro (UMMC East Bank), Lakes, Microbiology (Grand Itasca), Northland, Range, Ridges, Southdale, St. John's, UMMC West Bank, Woodwinds)


Reference Range:Negative or not detected.

Click HERE to Report test errors or omissions.
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