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COVID-19 test procedure

8 Jun 2020

There are talks of COVID-19 tests each day, but do we all know how it actually takes place? The test is a nasopharyngeal swab. Dr Matlooba al Zadjali, Sr Consultant Public Health (cardiovascular diseases) and Founder and Managing Director of Heart Vascular Centre (HVC), explains the procedure exclusively to Muscat Daily. 

Kit contents: 
1 Tube of Universal Transport Media (UTM) 
1 Nasopharyngeal swab (smaller swab, flexible shaft) (CDC recommended) 
1 Ziploc specimen bag containing absorbent pad 
1 RI State Health Laboratories Test Requisition form 
1 Ice pack (keep in a freezer until ready to package & transport specimens) 

After taking the swab from nasopharynx/throat 
Insert the swab into the vial of UTM. If the swab shaft extends past the top of the tube, clip it so that the top of the swab shaft is just below the top of the tube allowing the end with the swab tip to remain in the liquid. The swab tip must be immersed in the liquid. 

Next Steps: 
• Securely tighten the cap on the tube of UTM and recheck to make certain it is labelled with two patient identifiers. Write ‘NP’ or ‘OP’ on the tube of UTM. Insert tube into specimen transport bag and close bag tightly. 

• Complete a RI State Health Laboratories test requisition form. For test requested, write ‘COVID-19’ under Comments/Other test requests. Ensure that all information is legible, complete and accurate.  

• Place the completed form into the outside pocket of the specimen bag. Do not enclose it inside the bag with the specimen tube. 

Holding: 
• Store specimens refrigerated (2 – 8°C) until ready to send to Central Public Health Laboratory.  
• Specimens may be held refrigerated for up to 72 hours.  
• Specimens must be received at the Central Public Health Laboratory within three days of being collected.

Dr Matlooba al Zadjali

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