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COVID-19 Testing

Red Mountain Diagnostics offers rapid molecular testing for a variety of pathogens implicated in respiratory illness.  In particular, testing for COVID-19 virus is now available, either as an individual target panel for COVID-19 only, or as part of a larger Respiratory Panel that includes an additional 32 targets (viral and bacterial).

Specimen Collection and Transport

Health care providers should practice standard precautions for obtaining specimens.  Although essentially any specimen site can be tested, a nasopharyngeal swab is preferred.  Each inoculated swab should be placed immediately into a tube containing viral transport media.  Specimen may be stored by refrigerating at 2-8 degrees C for up to 72 hours if shipping is delayed.  We will arrange specimen pickup, or specimens can be sent by courier during normal business hours.  Weekends are by prior arrangement only; please call if you anticipate a weekend dropoff.

FAQ about *COVID-19 Testing

  • Does Red Mountain supply swab kits?  Yes; please call us for further information on availability and to arrange pickup.

  • Does Red Mountain perform the swab test on patients?  There are multiple avenues for obtaining a swab test.  First recommendation would be to utilize one's primary care provider, urgent care facility, or one of a number of drive-through testing sites available in the area.  With a doctor's order, we can perform the swab procedure at our office; please call first to set up an appointment.  Other arrangements can be accommodated at the discretion of the lab.

  • What test do you perform for COVID-19 virus?  We currently employ the Hologic Aptima SARS-CoV-2 assay, an FDA-approved nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) that correlates highly with CDC RT-PCR (another type of NAAT).  Like RT-PCR-based NAATs, Hologic's transcription-mediated-amplification (TMA)-based NAAT is among the most the most sensitive and specific assays  available. 

  • What is the sensitivity and specificity of the test you perform?  Because the test detects COVID-19 at the molecular/DNA level, the test is considered essentially 100% specific.  Sensitivity is more difficult to characterize, but anecdotal evidence nationally suggests a sensitivity of approximately 70% (one in three false-negative).  The data are continually changing, and it must be stressed that a negative test result does not guarantee one is COVID-19-free, or that one might not become positive days later.  Multiple factors may account for this known issue, and as the test is a snapshot in time, repeat testing and attention to clinical symptomatology are paramount.

  • What is your turnaround time?  We are committed to providing the most rapid results to our critical care providers, and hope to preserve our turnaround time of approximately 24 hours from arrival in our lab.  Numerous constraints may vary this time frame.  Please call us if there is a need for expedited results and we will try to accommodate to the limit of our capacity.

  • Does Red Mountain offer the antibody (serology/blood) test?  Yes.  We now have kits in stock and are able to receive blood samples (lavender top or SST) to test for COVID-19 antibodies IgM and IgG.  Please call us for more details.

  • Can Red Mountain perform back-to-school, workplace employee testing, or other testing in the absence of symptoms or exposure?  Yes, although this may be considered a non-covered test by your insurer.  In the absence of a physician's prescription, the patient self-referral cost is $100 (including the collection fee).

*subject to frequent change​

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