Information for Hospitals & Healthcare Professionals

Texas Case Counts microscopic example of a coronavirus

DSHS has compiled the following resources to assist hospitals and healthcare providers in the evaluation of patients who may be ill with COVID‑19 or who may have been exposed to the COVID‑19 virus:

For disease reporting and/or local assistance, see the listing of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Local Health Entities.

Notice Regarding Testing and Submission of Specimens for COVID-19 to the DSHS Austin Laboratory

As of April 1, 2020, the Texas DSHS Laboratory has made the following changes regarding acceptable specimens for COVID‑19 testing:

  1. The recommended specimen type is still a Nasopharyngeal (NP) swab (Dacron-tipped with a plastic or aluminum shaft) in viral transport media (VTM). If VTM is unavailable, Universal Transport Media (UTM), Amies, or 0.85% Saline may be substituted.
  2. Nasal swabs and nasal mid-turbinate (NMT) swabs are now acceptable. Oropharyngeal (OP) swabs are still an acceptable specimen type.
    **Please continue to send a single specimen. If multiple specimens are received, only 1 swab will be tested in an effort to maximize resources.**
  3. The DSHS Interim COVID‑19 Case Report Form must be included with each sample submission.

For further details, please see the “Specimen Types” and “Specimen Collection and Handling” sections of the COVID‑19 Specimen Collection and Submission Instructions located on the DSHS Laboratory website.

PUI ID is no longer required. However, ALL specimens for COVID‑19 testing require preapproval. Contact your Local Health Department or DSHS Public Health Region to ensure patient meets Person Under Investigation (PUI) criteria for testing and to obtain DSHS approval to test. Specimens MUST meet DSHS PUI criteria prior to shipping and WILL NOT be tested without prior approval. Please DO NOT ship specimens prior to receiving this approval.

Updated 4/01/2020

Healthcare professionals can also find interim guidance (including patient evaluation, reporting, testing, specimen collection, and prevention and control recommendations) on the CDC website:
CDC Guidance for Health Professionals

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This page is being updated as new information becomes available.

Last updated April 3, 2020