SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Real-Time RT-PCR

Laboratory Fee Schedule
Procedure #:  MCN0311A

Synonym(s):  COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) PCR, SARS-CoV-2 rRT-PCR
Requisition Form G2-V
Test Description Testing samples for the detection of nucleic acid from the SARS-CoV-2 virus in individuals suspected of COVID-19 by their healthcare provider.
Pre-Approval Needed All specimens for COVID-19 testing require preapproval. Contact your Local Health Department or DSHS Public Health Region to ensure patient meets the criteria for testing and to obtain approval to test. DO NOT ship specimens prior to receiving this approval.
Supplemental Information Required N/A
Supplemental Form(s) N/A
Performed on Specimens from (sources) Human
Sample/Specimen Type for Testing
  • Nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs
  • Oropharyngeal (OP) swabs
  • NP/OP (combined) swabs 
  • Anterior nasal swabs 
  • Mid-turbinate nasal swabs
  • Nasal aspirates
  • Nasal washes
  • Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid
Minimum Volume/Size Required 2-3 mL
Storage/Preservation Prior to Shipping Refrigerate at 2-8°C, or freeze at -70°C or below.
Transport Medium
  • Universal transport media (UTM)
  • Viral transport media (VTM)
Specimen Labeling
  • Two patient-specific identifiers required (e.g., patient full name, date of birth, Medical record number).
  • Identifiers on specimen must exactly match submission form.
Shipping and Specimen Handling Requirements

Ship samples: 

  •  According to Dangerous Good Regulations, IATA, and/or CFR 49.
  • Handling as infectious agent using universal precautions.
  • Triple-contained in accordance with federal shipping regulations for infectious agents.
  • If specimens are expected to arrive at the lab within 72 hours of collection, refrigerate at 2-8°C and ship overnight on ice packs.
  • If specimens are expected to arrive at the lab after 72 hours of collection, freeze at     -70°C and ship overnight on dry ice.
Method Real-Time RT-PCR
Turn-around Time 2 business days
  • False negative may result if specimen is improperly collected, transported, or handled.
  • Detection of viral RNA does not imply that the corresponding virus is infectious or is the causative agent for clinical symptoms.
  • A negative result does not preclude infection.
Common Causes for Rejection
  • Information on the submission form and sample do not match.
  • Failure to put two forms of identification on sample.
  • Specimen received cold greater than 72 hours after collection.
  • Specimen received ambient.
  • Specimen leaked in transit.
  • Submission of incorrect sample/specimen type.
  • Submission of incorrect or expired transport medium.
Additional Information Please mark the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) PCR test request box on the submission form.
Note: By checking the Influenza Surveillance or COVID-19 PCR test request box, submitters authorize DSHS to test for Flu and/or COVID as resources allow.