Austin Pathology

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Coronavirus PCR, novel (COVID-19)

Alternate Names
Ordering Information

Consider novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection in patients with fever and respiratory symptoms who recently travelled to anywhere in China but in particular Wuhan, China and to higher risk countries, or having direct contact with a known COVID-19 positive individual.

Higher risk- Mainland China, Iran, Italy, South Korea.

Moderate risk - Cambodia, Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Spain, France, US.

Investigate and manage patients for respiratory illness using standard practices.  See latest updates from Department of Health and Human Services.

The Medical Microbiologist (94965261) or the Microbiology Department (94965872) must also be telephoned to arrange urgent testing.

Austin Pathology will now be performing PCR testing for COVID-19 on site. 

(Previously forwarded to Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory).


Collect a dedicated sample for this test request.

Respiratory Swabs: Collect nasopharyngeal swab (Red top)swabs AND OR Oropharyngeal (throat) swab in viral transport media (Green top). ALSO collect one serum sample for later research purposes.

Other Sample Types: Serum, NPAs, sputums, bronchial washings (BW), bronchoalveolar lavages (BALs).

If Additional Respiratory viruses are suspected, no longer are two swabs required.  Testing for both COVID-19 and additional respiratory viruses can be performed on the same swab, however, both tests will need to be requested.

Novel Coronavirus Information Sheet for Primary and Community Health Workers Version 2.pdf

Communique from Chief Medical Officers.pdf


Cerner Test Name
Molecular Diagnostics
Swab - viral (green)
Collection Instruction
Collect at room temperature
Additional Collection Instructions

See nasopharyngeal instructions.  All staff performing collections should practice and use appropriate PPE including gloves, mask, gown and goggles.

Minimum Adult Volume
Minimum Paediatric Volume