Virus Respiratory (Throat) Specimen Collection Instructions


  1. Open the pouched seal pack and remove the specimen container from the package.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Aseptically remove the swab from the package.
  5. Collect the specimen following the procedure illustrated on the below.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Storage of unused kits:

Kits should be stored at 2-25°C until used. Improper storage will result in a loss of efficacy.


PHO Microbiology Rounds: COVID-19 Vaccination in Dialysis Patients

This presentation will provide background on the impact of COVID-19 on patients on dialysis, including COVID-19 outbreaks in dialysis units.

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To order kits or for more information

Effective September 10, 2020 – to obtain COVID-19 swab kits, please submit your order via the Ontario Health Digital Services page.

Updated 14 Sep 2020