How is COVID-19 Test Specimen Collected?

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of diagnostic testing has been top of mind. Testing can help healthcare providers identify infected patients more quickly, and thus help slow the spread of the virus. But, patients may be left wondering, how is the test specimen collected? Is it painful? What should be expected in the collection process?

COVID-19 Specimen Collection

COVID-19 specimen will be collected with a quick swab taken from the patient’s nose. Depending on the specific test, there are three different swab methods that may be used to collect the COVID-19 specimen, known as nasopharyngeal collection, mid-turbinate collection, and anterior nasal collection. Each lasts just a few seconds and shouldn’t be painful for the patient, but it might tickle.

Here are three quick video demonstrations for how each type of COVID-19 swab is collected:

COVID-19 Nasopharyngeal Swab Collection Instructions

COVID-19 Mid-Turbinate Swab Collection Instructions

COVID-19 Anterior Nasal Swab Collection Instructions

Get a COVID-19 Test

If you are a patient experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or if you think you have been exposed, it’s important to learn more about test options and speak with your healthcare provider about diagnosis.

Please note that patients under investigation of COVID-19 will not be collected at BioReference Patient Service Centers.

For asymptomatic patients, our new mobile phlebotomy service, Scarlet Health, is now available. We can bring the laboratory to you, and collect your specimen in your home or office. Click here to learn more and get started.

If you are a healthcare provider, click here to become a client so you can begin ordering COVID-19 and other diagnostic tests for your patients.