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COVID-19 is a disease caused by a newly identified coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 (2019 Novel Coronavirus). Michigan Medicine, in coordination with state and local health departments, is closely monitoring developments in this rapidly evolving situation and will offer guidance as it becomes available.

Clinicians should use their judgment to determine if a patient has signs and symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and whether the patient should be tested. Most patients with confirmed COVID-19 have developed fever and/or symptoms of acute respiratory illness (e.g., cough, difficulty breathing).

Michigan Medicine guidelines for testing include:

  • Patients fulfill at least 2 out of 5 criteria:
    • Fever (T>100.4 degrees C).
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
    • High-risk exposure (within six feet of COVID-19 case for prolonged time or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case)
    • Presence of >=1 risk factor for COVID-19 infection or severe outcomes
  • Risk Factors:
    • Age >= 70 years
    • Compromised immune system (AIDS, organ or HSC transplant, immunosuppressive therapy)
    • International or domestic travel within 2 weeks of symptom onset
    • Healthcare worker
    • Resident of nursing home or other long-term care facility.

Currently there is a nation-wide shortage of collection kits, transport media, and reagents for performing COVID-19 testing. Due to resource and capacity constraints, MLabs is not able to accept COVID-19 testing from our clients at this time.


Specimens from ambulatory patients suspected of having COVID-19 should not be sent to MLabs for SARS-CoV-2 testing at this time.  Please direct questions regarding testing to your local health department and if testing is approved, make arrangements for sending directly to the state health department for COVID-19 testing.  The number for Washtenaw County is 734-544-6700.  If you are unable to reach your local health department, please call the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Communicable Disease (CD) Division at: 517-335-8165 during business hours, or at: 517-335-9030 after-hours and on holidays.

MLabs offers a Respiratory Viruses by PCR (Influenza & RSV) (order code PCRSC) as well as a Respiratory Pathogen Panel by PCR (order code RPAN) testing which may be required as part of MDHHS COVID-19 risk assessment criteria. The Respiratory Pathogen Panel by PCR does not test for COVID-19.

Collection Instructions for PCRSC or RPAN:  Use a flocked swab, dacron or rayon swab to obtain a nasopharyngeal specimen and place into M4-RT transport medium. Refrigerate.



Additional information regarding Coronavirus disease is available at the following websites: