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Health Care Providers

Information for
Health Care Providers

Transmission and Symptoms

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person in close contact, through respiratory droplets. It is also possible that a person can catch COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it. The CDC reports that some or all of the following symptoms may appear up to 14 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Anorexia
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Sputum Production
  • Myalgias
Specimen Source

Upper respiratory specimen via nasopharyngeal collection (NP) placed in 3 mL of transport media.

As of March 24, 2020, the FDA and CDC recommend collecting and testing an upper respiratory specimen with a nasopharyngeal collection (NP), as the preferred choice for swab based SARS-CoV-2 testing.

If a NP specimen cannot be collected, alternate collection sites are acceptable.

Who Collects the Specimen?

Specimens should be collected at physician offices, hospitals or other clinic settings by trained personnel.

Storage of Specimen

Refrigerate specimen at 2-8° C. Label with patient name. Place in specimen bag and label with “COVID-19” and submit to laboratory.

Swabs and Transport Media

Flocked plastic NP swabs in universal or viral transport media (UTM/VTM) at 3 mL volume are preferred.

The FDA has made alternative recommendations in the context of limited quantities of testing supplies during this public health crisis, based on the best available evidence and in consultation with outside experts.

When considering alternate swab types, use only synthetic fiber swabs with plastic shafts, and transport in 3 mL of media. Do not use calcium alginate swabs or swabs with wooden shafts, as they may contain substances that inactivate some viruses and inhibit PCR testing.

Please refer to the most current CDC guidelines for further information on collecting, handling, and testing clinical specimens.


3 Days (Refrigerated) 30 Days (Frozen) for Viral Transport Media.

Specimens in Universal Transport Media may be kept at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Self Pay Testing

COVID-19 molecular and serology testing is available with a self-pay patient price to patients who do not have health insurance or for those who intentionally choose not to submit a claim to their insurance company.

The COVID-19 self-pay price is $100 for RT-PCR and $50 for the Antibody Test

Test Indications

Many patients with COVID-19 will be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, and will not have been diagnosed with PCR. Antibody testing can be used to identify these past infections.

Patients with symptoms who test negative with molecular tests may still be suspected of having COVID-19. If antibodies are detectable in these patients, they are likely to have been infected and had a false negative PCR result.

Result Interpretation
  • Positive 2019-nCoV – Critical
  • Presumptive Positive 2019-nCoV – Critical. The viral concentration is likely to be near or below the limit of detection. Re-collection of a new sample is suggested, if clinically indicated.
  • Inconclusive – Please consider re-collection of a new specimen, as clinically indicated.
  • Invalid – Please consider re-collection of a new specimen, as clinically indicated.
  • Not Detected – Please consider re-collection of a new specimen, as clinically indicated.
Turnaround Time

Most results will be available in 24-48 hours


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