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Test Code LAB1230607 COVID-19

Important Note

  • Nasopharyngeal collection must be done in office, following the Nasopharyngeal instructions below.
  • Nasal self-collect may also be done in office following instructions below.
  • Offices that do not wish to collect in office may send their patient (with valid order) to a Nasal Self Collect Observation Location.
  • You may also direct symptomatic patients who may need screening/testing to the SH Now COVID-19 Free Screening Hotline at 833-559-0659. Any patient requiring testing will then be scheduled for drive through nasopharyngeal testing.

Test Name Alias

SARS-CoV2, Coronavirus, nCov, 2019-nCov, 2019 Coronavirus

Icons & Photos

Ordering Supplies:

If you are a Spectrum Health location, please order supplies via Lawson


Lawson #


ESwab – Standard Tip Swab

450094 (kit)



ESwab – Mini-Tip Swab

Please reserve for pediatric use

450093 (kit)

3 mL Saline Kit With Swab

Swab not shown, swabs will vary.


White tube: Swab will need to be trimmed/cut down to fit in tube.

138868 (kit)


Universal Transport Media (UTM)/Viral Transport Medium (VTM)

Product may be 1.0 mL or 1.5 mL. Cap color may differ, all UTM accepted. Swabs not shown, swabs will vary.


UTM may be unavailable for ordering.


Recommended to be used for non-covid specimens at this time.

652889 (kit)


Aptima Multitest Swab Specimen Collection Kit


Aptima specimens are only processed in the Advanced Technology Lab (ATL)

80959 (kit)

There are multiple COVID-19 nasopharyngeal specimen collection media available for testing. We realize that you may have ordered a particular type of swab or media but due to availability we may have changed your order. Be assured that you can still use any of the above swabs and media sent for COVID-19 specimen collection.

Collection Instructions


Specimen Type: Nasopharyngeal Swab (NP) or Nasal Swab
Container/Tube: "Liquid Media" - ESwab Kit, UTM Kit, Saline Kit, Aptima Multitest Kit (All kits have a swab with a tube filled with liquid media, see list above for more information.)

Minimum Volume to Collect: 1.5 mL of media with swab



Specimen Type: Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), sputum, tracheal aspirate, nasopharyngeal (NP) wash/aspirate, nasal aspirate.
Container/Tube: sterile screw-cap collection container/cup

Minimum Volume to Collect: 2-3 mL




  • If possible, obtain specimen during the acute phase of the illness during the greatest amount of viral shedding. 
  • When performing a nasopharyngeal swab for COVID-19 testing or screening, you must wear the appropriate PPE for Severe Respiratory Precautions: face shield or goggles, mask, gown and gloves.

(Link) Nasopharyngeal Collection

  • Tilt the head of the patient, gently insert the swab through one of the nostrils and into the nasal passage.
  • Rotate the swab tip several times across the mucosal surface.
  • Remove the swab and insert into the viral transport medium (UTM) tube immediately.
  • Push the swab into the tube and break the plastic shaft swab at the break line.
  • Replace cap and screw on tightly. Ensure cap is secured! Leaky specimens may erase patient/specimen information on label!
  • Label specimen with at least 2 patient identifiers (usually name and date of birth)
  • Send to lab immediately 
    • If off-site keep specimen refrigerated




(Link) Nasal swab self-collection or observation





  • Upon collection make sure the specimen is properly labeled.

  • Place in the plastic priority transport bag that came with the collection kit
    • One labeled specimen
    • Fully completed requisition with patient insurance information (if patient billing)
  • Immediately refrigerate specimen after collection. Keep specimen at refrigerated temperature after collection to delivery. 
    • Note: there should be one specimen only per plastic priority transport bag.  A secondary, larger plastic bag may be used to transport multiple priority transport bags.
    • Cold packs/pouches should be used in a Styrofoam, or similar type cooler, to transport priority transport bags containing specimens. It is imperative to keep specimen bags dry.

Lab Staff Instructions


ESwab, Saline, UTM 

  • Route Micro/6th floor 
    • BW/HDVCH/MHC Inpatient and ED
    • Pediatric Oncology
    • SH Team Members
    • Pine Rest and Forest View Hospital
  • Route ATL for all others

Aptima Multitest, Lyra Direct 

  • Route ATL

Dry Collection Kit (RAPID ONLY)

  • Micro/6th floor
    • Rapid COVID order
  • ATL for "batch" order (LAB1230607


Rejection Criteria

  • Not Acceptable Collection Supplies:
    • Cotton swabs
    • Calcium alginate swabs
    • Wood shaft swabs
    • BBL CultureSwabTM

Specimen Stability

Keep specimen refrigerated after collection.

Transport Temperature: Refrigerated

Note: ambient temperature transport is acceptable when immediately transported to lab from BW or HDVCH ED or inpatient locations.


Refrigerated: 72 hour stability


Frozen: undetermined stability. Please routinely send specimens refrigerated.

Reference Range


Performing Department

Multiple Departments:
Molecular Diagnostics

Performing Department Laboratory Location

Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory (SHRL LC) - Advanced Technology Laboratory (ATL), Grand Rapids, MI

Spectrum Health Regional Laboratory (SHRL BW), Grand Rapids, MI
Spectrum Health Big Rapids Laboratory (BR), Big Rapids, MI
Spectrum Health Blodgett Laboratory (BL), Grand Rapids, MI
Spectrum Health Gerber Laboratory (GM), Fremont, MI
Spectrum Health Kelsey Laboratory (KL), Lakeview, MI

Spectrum Health Ludington Laboratory (LH), Ludington, MI

Spectrum Health Pennock Laboratory (PH), Hastings, MI
Spectrum Health Reed City Laboratory (RC), Reed City, MI
Spectrum Health United Laboratory (UN), Greenville, MI
Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Laboratory (ZH), Zeeland, MI




U0001 or U0002 depending on method

Epic Test ID


Interface Order Alias





Mayo Access Code


Reviewed Date