Interim guidelines for collecting, handling, and testing clinical specimens for COVID-19 : interim guidelines for collecting, handling, and testing clinical specimens from persons for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
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Interim guidelines for collecting, handling, and testing clinical specimens for COVID-19 : interim guidelines for collecting, handling, and testing clinical specimens from persons for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
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  • Description:
    Updated Nov. 3, 2020 Summary of Recent Changes Revisions were made on November 3, 2020 to reflect the following: • Clarification on language for the collection of anterior nasal specimens. Revisions were made on October 8, 2020 to reflect the following: • Clarification on language for the collection of specimens and to include the addition of saliva language. Healthcare providers* and health department staff considering ordering testing of people with possible COVID-19 should work with their state, tribal, local, and territorial (STLT) health departments to coordinate testing through public health laboratories, or work with commercial or clinical laboratories using viral tests granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. CDC has guidance for who should be tested, but decisions about who should be tested are at the discretion of STLT health departments and/or healthcare providers. Testing for other pathogens by the provider should be done as part of the initial evaluation, as indicated, but should not delay testing for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. All SARS-CoV-2 test results, including positives, negatives and inconclusive findings, should be reported to the STLT health department. Read CDC’s Data and Reporting FAQ for Laboratories. Clinical laboratories should NOT attempt viral isolation from specimens collected from people suspected to have COVID-19 unless this is performed in a BSL-3 laboratory. *Pharmacists are considered healthcare providers in this guidance. Revisions were made on May 22, 2020 to reflect the following: • Change in specimen shipping address. Revisions were made on May 5, 2020 to reflect the following: • Add guidance on properly handling bulk-packaged sterile swabs for specimen collection. Revisions were made on April 29, 2020 to reflect the following: • Update guidance on viral transport medium (VTM) to note that some point-of-care tests advise against its use. • Remove preference for NP swabs. • Update guidance for use of personal protective equipment while obtaining specimens. Revisions were made on April 14, 2020 to reflect the following: • Clarify specimen collection procedures for all swab types and align with other respiratory disease specimen collection guidelines.
  • Content Notes:
    Summary of Recent Changes -- Specimen Type and Priority -- Collecting and Handling Specimens Safely -- Handling Bulk-Packaged Sterile Swabs Properly -- General Guidelines -- Respiratory Specimens -- Storage -- Shipping -- Additional Resources.
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