Virus Respiratory Kit (Oral and Nasal) Specimen Collection Instructions
Virus Respiratory Kit (Oral and Nasal) Specimen Collection Instructions for health care professionals
Instructional video on how to collect your own COVID-19 oral and nasal sample at bottom of page.
- Open the pouched seal pack and remove the specimen container from the package.
- Label the specimen container with the patient’s full name, date of collection and one other unique identifier such as the patient’s date of birth or Health Card Number. Failure to provide this information may result in rejection or testing delay.
- Complete all fields of the COVID-19 test requisition*: include, the patient’s full name, date of birth, Health Card Number (must match the specimen label), source of specimen, date of onset, date of collection, physician name and address, and clinical diagnosis.
- Aseptically remove the swab from the package.
- Collect the specimen following the procedure illustrated on the below.
- Break swab shaft evenly at the scored line and replace cap to vial closing tightly. If there is no score line, refer to the cutting instructions in the Swab Cutting Guide provided with the disposable scissors so that the swab is at least 1-2 cm below the upper lip of the transport media tube
- Place specimen in the biohazard bag with the fully completed test requisition placed in the attached pouch, so it is not exposed to the specimen.
- To maintain optimum viability, the specimen should be stored and transported at 2-8°C. If transport to the laboratory will be delayed, specimen should be frozen at -70°C or below and shipped on dry ice.
* For Non-COVID-19 Testing; use the PHO Laboratory General Test Requisition.
- Wash hands and open the sealed biohazard bag, removing the specimen container and packaged swab.
- Label the specimen container with the date of collection, full name and date of birth or Health Card Number. Failure to provide this information may result in rejection or testing delay.
- Complete all required fields of the COVID-19 test requisition form.
- Remove the swab from the package, keeping the swab tip clean.
- Insert swab between the cheek and lower gums and rotate swab 3 times. Repeat on other side of mouth.
- Tilt head back and insert the same swab straight back (not up) into nostril. Stop when you meet resistance.
- Rotate swab several times against nasal wall, and leave in place for several seconds. Using the same swab, repeat on other nostril.
- While ensuring the swab does not come into contact with anything, carefully remove the cap of the tube.
- Immediately place swab inside specimen container. Do not remove liquid in specimen container. Break swab at breakpoint and close cap tightly.
- Place the specimen container in the large part of the provided biohazard bag. Then place the fully completed test requisition form in the outer pocket of the bag.
- Wash your hands and check with your school for where to drop off the test.
- Johns Hopkins Medicine. How to obtain a nasal mid-turbinate (NMT) swab for COVID-19 [video recording on the Internet]. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University; 2020 [cited 2021 Feb 01]. 1 min. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSrWjVyxEeg
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nasal mid-turbinate (NMT) specimen collection steps [Internet]. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2020 [cited 2021 Feb 01]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/lab/NMT_Specimen_Collection_Infographic_FINAL_508.pdf
Updated 5 Feb 2021
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