At this time, diagnostic testing for 2019-nCoV can only be conducted at CDC. Healthcare providers should contact their local/state health department immediately to notify them about PUIs for 2019-nCoV. State health departments that have identified a PUI should immediately contact CDC’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 770-488-7100 and complete a 2019-nCoV PUI case investigation form on the Interim Guidance for Healthcare Professionals. Clinical laboratories should NOT attempt viral isolation from specimens collected from 2019-nCoV PUIs.

Specimens from PUIs should be coordinated through the local/state health department and the local/state public health laboratory for shipment to CDC. When submitting specimens from PUIs, include appropriate patient identifiers on the test requisition and the specimen container. Label each specimen container with

  • CDC nCoV number
  • The patient’s ID number (e.g., medical record number)
  • Unique specimen ID (e.g., laboratory requisition number)
  • Specimen type (e.g., serum)
  • Number of samples
  • Date the sample(s) was collected
  • CDC Information for Laboratories: 2019-nCoV
  • CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus website
  • Sign up for CDC Health Alert Network (HAN) notifications, including updates about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Enter your email address, search for HAN, and sign-up

The CDC Form 50.34 must be completed for each specimen submitted and should be coordinated with the local/state health department and the local/state public health laboratory. Result reporting processes will be delayed if the submitter overwrites the public health laboratory submission email. After selecting the specimen origin, the submitter should utilize the drop-down menu for the STATE PHL block to select submitter information. Please do not edit or alter any information that is populated after selecting the Institution name. Do not edit the Institutional email field. You may manually add a Point of Contact as well as a POC email address. In the STATE PHL block, include the “CDC nCoV number” on the PUI form in the blue shaded field as the Alternate Patient ID. The “CDC nCoV number” should also be included in the CDC Form 50.34.

For initial diagnostic testing for 2019-nCoV, CDC recommends collecting and testing upper respiratory (nasopharyngeal AND oropharyngeal swabs), and lower respiratory (sputum, if possible)) for those patients with productive coughs. Induction of sputum is not indicated. Specimens should be collected as soon as possible once a PUI is identified, regardless of the time of symptom onset.

See Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens from Patients Under Investigation (PUIs) for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Additional Resources