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Transport of Laboratory Specimens from Patients with Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19 Infection

Because of the potential for exposure to infectious aerosols or droplets, it is not recommended to transport respiratory specimens from patients suspected to have, or confirmed to have, COVID-19 through the pneumatic tube system (PTS). Examples of respiratory specimens include 

•Nasopharyngeal (NP) and oropharyngeal (OP) swabs  
•Nasal mid-turbinate (NMT) swabs 
•Anterior nares swabs 
•Nasopharyngeal wash/aspirate or nasal aspirate 
•Pleural fluids 
•Tracheal and lower respiratory tract aspirates, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) specimens, and sputum. 

All other patient specimens may be transported to the lab via the PTS. Specimens from COVID-19 confirmed or suspected patients should be bagged, and the outside of the bag should then be wiped down with disinfectant. The outside of the pod used in the tube system should also be wiped down with disinfectant. 

October 23, 2020
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