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Epic Code LAB1230607 COVID-19 PCR

Important Note

To be collected (NP or Nares) or observed (Nares) by clinical trained staff.

Test Name Alias

SARS-CoV2 | Coronavirus | nCov | 2019-nCov | 2019 Coronavirus | COVID19 PCR

Interface Order Alias


Ordering Instructions

Effective 6/30/2021:All patients must have a valid order from a physician

Icons & Photos

Viral Transport Media (UTM) Kit with Flocked Swab for Nares collection [ITM-1186125]

Viral Transport Media (UTM) Kit with Mini-Tip Swab for NP collection [ITM-1140078]


Note: Saline Collection Kit is acceptable container but no longer supplied as of 2/14/22


Ordering Supplies:

  • If you are a Spectrum Health location (SHMG, SHHG, Rural/Regioinal SH Hospitals), please order supplies via Workday.
  • If you are not a Spectrum Health location, please fill out a supply form and request "COVID swabs" 

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: Nares (Nostril) or Throat
Container/Tube: UTM Universal Transport Media (UTM) Kit with Flocked Swab [ITM1186125]


Specimen Type: Nasopharyngeal (NP)
Container/Tube: UTM Universal Transport Media (UTM) Kit with Mini-Swab [ITM1140078]



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.

Rejection Criteria

  • Not Acceptable Collection Supplies:
    • Cotton swabs
    • Calcium alginate swabs
    • Wood shaft swabs
    • BBL CultureSwabTM
    • ESwabs should be conserved for test that require this type of media including

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.

Test Frequency

Available Daily. Turn around time up to 72 hours.

Reference Range


Performing Department

Multiple Departments:
Molecular Diagnostics

Performing Department Laboratory Location

Corewell Health Advanced Technology Laboratory, Grand Rapids, MI

Corewell Health Reference Laboratory, Grand Rapids, MI

Corewell Health Big Rapids Laboratory (BR), Big Rapids, MI
Corewell Health Blodgett Laboratory (BL), Grand Rapids, MI
Corewell Health Gerber Laboratory (GM), Fremont, MI
Corewell Health Kelsey Laboratory (KL), Lakeview, MI

Corewell Health Ludington Laboratory (LH), Ludington, MI

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




U0003; 87635; U0005

CDM Code

300U000301, 300U000501

Epic Test ID





Mayo Access Code


Reviewed Date


Update Date

9/15/2023 - removed Immunochemistry from list of performing departments