COVID-19 and Newborn Screening

Frequently Asked Questions

Has DSHS altered guidance for collection of newbornscreens?

No. The 1st newborn screenshould be collected between 24 - 48 hours of age, or before hospital discharge.The 2nd newborn screen should be collected on every infant at 1-2 weeks of age.

DSHS recognizes that healthcare providers may requireadjustments to newborn screening protocols. 

Completely and accurately fill out all information requestedon the collection kits.

Incomplete or inaccurate demographic information canresult in specimen rejection, incorrect results, or delay in initiation offollow-up on out of range results.

Ensure parent contact information (phone numberand address) is current.

Advise parent to select a pediatrician andattempt to make the first appointment prior to leaving the hospital. Enterpediatrician contact information on the collection kit.


What if a parent is requesting early discharge tosocially isolate themselves and their newborn?

Collect the first screenimmediately prior to discharge.


For 2nd screens, what if our facility isunable to provide a location to collect the specimen?

If necessary, explore theavailability of other collection locations such as an outpatient clinic or referencelaboratory.  If no alternative can beidentified, ensure a screen is collected as soon as can be safely scheduled.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendspediatricians continue to see newborns and infants for preventive care. AAPCoVID-19 guidance includes:

  • Delaying care for newbornsand other vulnerable children during this time could have devastatingconsequences for their health.
  • Be flexible to determine thebest way to schedule patient visits to minimize the risk, including spacing outvisits, modifying clinical space, or rescheduling visits for older childrenuntil a later date.
  • Pediatricians may choose tolimit well visits to early morning?while reserving the remainder of the day forsick visits.
  • Pediatricians are encouragedto dedicate specific rooms for sick visits and well visits; or for those withmultiple practice sites to consider using one office location to see all wellvisits (staffed by those in higher risk categories).


What if a 2nd screen cannot be collectedin the recommended timeframe of 7-14 days of age?

Collect the 2nd screen assoon as conditions allow. This ensures the earliest possible interventions foraffected babies.  DSHS does not rejectspecimens collected on older children, but NBS testing methodologies have beendesigned to minimize the number of false negative and false positive results innewborns and young infants.


What if the 1st screen was out of range orunsatisfactory?

It is imperative toensure that another screen is collected for newborns with an out of range or unsatisfactory1st screen. Having an unsatisfactory screen is like not beingscreened at all. In some situations, newborns with out of range first screens may not requirediagnostic evaluation if a second screen is normal.


What if the parent refuses the 2nd screen?

Parents can only refuse to have their child screened if the screening conflictswith a parent’s religious tenets or practices (see Texas Health & SafetyCode Sec. 33.012). To refuse, a parent must sign a form stating he/she has areligious objection to newborn screening. Points to consider before refusing asecond newborn screening:

  • DSHS has implemented atwo-screen system to maximize the effectiveness of testing for all disorders onthe Texas Newborn Screening Panel.
  • The second screen routinelydetects babies at risk for severe medical complications. These babies sometimeshave a normal first screen.
  • Some disorders (like cysticfibrosis) rely upon both newborn screens to reduce the number of babies whowould otherwise require additional testing with a specialist to determinewhether they have the condition or not.


Our facility has new staff assisting with specimencollection and out of range result follow-up coordination. What resources areavailable for quality assurance?

Healthcare providerguidance on specimen collection, transport and result reporting can be found  

Please completely and accurately fill out all information requestedon the collection kits. Incomplete or inaccurate demographic information can result in specimen rejection,incorrect results, or delay in initiation of follow-up on out of range results.




CoronaVirus in Texas:


Newborn Screening Laboratory:

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or 512-776-7333


Clinical Care Coordination:

1-888-963-7111 ext. 3957 or 512-776-3957