Covid-19 Test: Specimen Collection Requirements

The current diagnostic sample set is:

An upper respiratory tract sample either:

  • a single swab used for throat then nose in either a: (i) yellow capped Roche PCR medium or (ii) a red capped COVIDSafe Virus Inactivation medium – see picture below. (NOTE: blue or green capped viral tubes must not be used and will be rejected by the laboratory)




A lower respiratory tract specimen

  • is encouraged to maximise the chances of detecting any pathogens. However, avoid induction of sputum.

For guidance on Covid-19 swab specimen collection, click here.

DO NOT use point of care flu test in ED.

Additional samples will be required depending on other possible diagnoses.

It is important to:

  • Label the specimens with patient’s name and an identifier number and sample type.
  • When requesting the test in Epic, indicate ‘possible coronavirus’ in clinical details.

Turnaround Time 

24 hours

Last updated: August 30, 2022