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Novel Coronavirus (SARS-coV-2; COVID-19)

Methodology

RT-PCR

CPT Code

87798

Acceptable Specimens

Use only synthetic fiber swabs with plastic shafts. Do not use calcium alginate swabs or swabs with wooden shafts, as they may contain substances that inactivate some viruses and inhibit PCR testing. Place swabs immediately into sterile tubes containing 2-3 ml of viral transport media. 

Nasopharyngeal swab: Insert a swab into the nostril parallel to the palate. Leave the swab in place for a few seconds to absorb secretions. Swab both nasopharyngeal areas with the same swab.

NP/OP combined swabs: Preferred specimen type. Both a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab AND oropharyngeal (OP) swab in a SINGLE, COMBINED viral/universal transport medium.

Oropharyngeal swab (e.g., throat swab): Swab the posterior pharynx, avoiding the tongue.  Not preferred for CDC EUA assay; should be accompanied by an NP swab, or results will be reported with a disclaimer: “OP only, nasal, and nasal turbinate swabs are acceptable only if collection by other method is not possible.  Interpret results with caution; false negatives may occur.”

Nasal swab: Not preferred for CDC EUA assay. Results will be reported with a disclaimer: “OP only, nasal, and nasal turbinate swabs are acceptable only if collection by other method is not possible.  Interpret results with caution; false negatives may occur.”

Nasal turbinate swab: Not preferred for CDC EUA assay. Results will be reported with a disclaimer: “OP only, nasal, and nasal turbinate swabs are acceptable only if collection by other method is not possible.  Interpret results with caution; false negatives may occur.”

Nasopharyngeal wash/aspirate or nasal aspirate:Collect 2-3 mL into a sterile, leak-proof, screw-cap sputum collection cup or sterile dry container. 

Sputum: Have the patient rinse the mouth with water and then expectorate deep cough sputum directly into a sterile, leak-proof, screw-cap sputum collection cup or sterile dry container.

Bronchoalveolar lavage, tracheal aspirate:Collect 2-3 mL into a sterile, leak-proof, screw-cap sputum collection cup or sterile dry container.

Specimen Storage and Transport

  • Refrigerate specimen at 2-8°C and ship same day or overnight to SCPHL on ice pack.
  • If specimens must be held for >72 hours, they should be promptly frozen at -70°C and shipped on dry ice.

Specimen Rejection

  • Leaking specimens
  • Unlabeled specimens
  • Incorrect swab
  • Incorrect transport media
  • Incorrect transport/storage temperature

Setup Days

Daily through the end of April

Turn-around-time

Next Day

Lab Slip

Sonoma PHL COVID-19 Requisition Form (PDF: 236 kB)

Contact Information

Public Health Regional Laboratory

Public Health Division

Health Services

Contact us by Phone

Address

3313 Chanate Road

Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Coronavirus Information

Coronavirus

Up-to-date information on the Coronavirus