Laboratory Test Information Guide

Details for Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 2019 Diagnostic Priority (COVID) Adult ED and Critical Care Admissions only

Test Name: Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 2019 Diagnostic Priority (COVID) Adult ED and Critical Care Admissions only
Alternate Name(s): GeneXpert
Priority PCR COVID-19 Testing
Laboratory: Microbiology
Specimen Type: Nasopharyngeal Swab
Collection Information: For special use ONLY
Currently, this test is restricted for adult emergency department and critical care admissions to support bed flow management.
A pink sticker that has been provided by PaLM to approved areas must be applied to the specimenís biohazard bag before sending to the Lab.

Outside of the adult emergency and critical care admissions, requests for this priority testing can be made by paging the Microbiologist on call at pager number 19000.

Collection instructions:

- Nasopharyngeal swab:
Insert flexible, fine-shafted swab into nasopharynx, rotate in circular manner to collect cellular material. Place swab in viral transport media
-Nasal/Mid-turbinate (deep nasal) swab
Insert swab 3-4 cm into EACH nostril, rotate in a circular manner for 3 seconds.
-Place swab in viral transport media.
Test Schedule: Testing is performed 7 days per week at PaLM Microbiology.
Turnaround time from when specimen
is received in testing laboratory:
PaLM Microbiology: 4 hours
Reference Range: Reference Range Results appear under GXRVP in Powerchart.
Effective Date: 2021-04-21
Revised Date:  
Critical Value:  
Interpretive Comments:  
Special Processing: All SARS-CoV-2-positive specimens tested by PaLM will be automatically tested for Variants of Concern (VOC). This test will screen for the presence of gene mutations (N501Y and E484K) associated with commonly circulating variants. The N501Y mutation is present in the UK (B.1.1.7) variant, while the E484K mutation is present in both the South African (B.1.351) and Brazilian (P.1) variants.

Only specimens with E484K will be forwarded to the Public Health Laboratory for sequencing and variant characterization. The final sequencing report will be available in OLIS.
Comments: This is a standard PCR equivalent test with PCR level sensitivity.

Only one priority sample will be processed per patient within a 14 day period.
Method of Analysis: PCR (polymerase chain reaction)
Critical Information Required:  
Storage & Shipment: Specimen must be received within 24 hours of collection. If the transport time exceeds 24 hours, the specimen must be refrigerated and will only be tested if appropriate.
System Codes: 
COVID + pink sticker applied
Referred To:  

Questions? Comments? Contact Laura Gopaul