DOH Advisory: Update On Specimen Collection Guidance To Collection Nasopharyngeal Swab Only

Lisa Volk and Jackie Pappalardi in Clinical & Quality

BELOW IS A DOH HEALTH ADVISORY: NOVEL CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19) UPDATE ON SPECIMEN COLLECTION GUIDANCE TO COLLECT NASOPHARYNGEAL SWAB ONLY. 

SUMMARY

  • COVID-19 community transmission has been detected in parts of the U.S., including NYS.
  • COVID-19 testing is available at the NYSDOH Wadsworth Center, the New York City (NYC) Public Health Laboratory (PHL) and select clinical laboratories.
  • For any suspect COVID-19 cases, ensure appropriate infection control precautions and immediately notify the infection control lead at your facility and the local health department (LHD).
  • Review local testing options for those who do not require clinical outpatient/inpatient medical care.
  • Collect a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab for initial diagnostic testing for COVID-19 

SITUATION UPDATE

  • As of March 17, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 4,226 COVID-19 cases with 75 deaths nationally.
  • As of March 17, 2020, the NYSDOH had 1,374 reported cases of COVID-19; 730 in NYS (outside of NYC) and 644 in NYC, with 7 deaths.
  • Molecular testing (rRT-PCR) for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is available under FDA emergency use authorization at the Wadsworth Center, the NYC PHL, and the Erie County PHL.
  • Commercial and hospital clinical laboratories have also started testing for COVID-19. More laboratories are expected to begin testing within the coming days or weeks. 

COVID-19 SPECIMEN COLLECTION AND HANDLING

  • Collect a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab for initial diagnostic testing for COVID-19 placed in a Viral Transport Media (VTM) vial.
    • Oropharyngeal swab and sputum are no longer recommended for initial testing.
    • Sputum or lower respiratory specimens such as bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) or tracheal aspirate testing may be considered, as clinically appropriate, and can be sent to a commercial or clinical laboratory. Collection of sputum should only be done for those patients with a productive cough. Induction of sputum is not recommended.
  • For testing at a clinical laboratory, follow laboratory guidance for specimen collection, handling, and transport processes.
  • Further testing at the Wadsworth Center guidance can be found on the NYSDOH COVID-19 healthcare provider website including: 
  1. NYSDOH Wadsworth Center COVID-19 Specimen Collection, Handling, and Transport Instructions
  2. NYSDOH Wadsworth Center Infectious Disease Requisition (IDR) Form (the IDR form must be filled out for each patient and sent to the Wadsworth Center with the specimen).
  3. NYSDOH Wadsworth Center Packaging and Transport Illustrated Checklist 

Providers who have questions can contact their LHD or the NYSDOH Bureau of Communicable Disease Control at 518-473-4439 during business hours or 1-866-881-2809 evenings, weekends, and holidays

RESOURCES

NYS Local Health Department Directory

NYSDOH COVID-19 website

CDC COVID-19 website

World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 website


NYSHFA/NYSCAL CONTACTS:

Lisa Volk, RN, B.P.S., LNHA
Director, Clinical & Quality Services
518-462-4800 x15

Jackie Pappalardi, RN, BSN
Executive Director
518-462-4800 x16