SARS CoV 2 (COVID 19) Qualitative Rapid PCR (ED & Inpatients only)

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General Information

Lab Name
SARS CoV 2 (COVID 19) Qualitative Rapid PCR
Lab Code
Epic Ordering
SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Qualitative Rapid PCR

This test provides rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in clinically urgent settings by approval only.

Testing is performed by:

The Cepheid Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) SARS-CoV-2 Real-time RT-PCR assay targets 3 regions of SARS-CoV-2 RNA (the causative agent of COVID-19). Amplification of any of the N2, E and RdRP targets is considered positive.

See SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Qualitative PCR [NCVQLT] for interpretive details.

Testing Indications: Please restrict rapid ordering to institutional guidelines given ongoing limited supply of ALL rapid testing. Additional viral testing guidelines can be found here.

For Fred Hutch South Lake Union, this test is authorized on a case by case basis through Fred Hutch Infection Prevention for certain pre-procedure patients. This test is not available for Fred Hutch community site orders.

For all locations

  • Double bagged specimens can be tubed to the performing lab locations specified below.
  • Refer to the specimen collection guidelines
  • Time to result will vary depending on testing volume but typically will be reported within an hour of receipt in lab.
  • POSITIVE results will be called to the ordering provider (except ED), negative results will not be called.


  • For in patients:
    • In EPIC orders, enter “Rapid COVID” to find the order panel.
    • EPIC will instruct you to select: rapid COVID-19 testing only for asymptomatic patients

  • For outpatients:
    • Ordering provider or RN must contact Clinical Microbiology (206-598-6147) to arrange the order. Please provide the following information:
      • Patient's name and MRN
      • Tube number for the patient's nursing station
      • Ordering physician's first and last name
      • Lab will tube a special requisition slip to the ordering location.
      • Fill out the requisition completely and hand deliver the collected NP specimen to Clinical Microbiology, NW177.


  • Orders for rapid COVID-19 testing can be placed in Epic.
  • The clinical indication field is required when ordering the test.
  • Testing is performed upon receipt.


Goal: To use a rapid test as a PPE mitigation strategy, to decrease the movement of patients around the hospital during a rule out, and to facilitate AGPs without airborne precautions.


  • Inpatients (including Psychiatry and Rehabilitation) with new symptoms consistent with COVID-19
  • Patients in the Psychiatric Emergency Department (PES)
  • Patients living homeless who will be discharged from the ER


  • Inpatients requiring urgent (≤ 12 hrs) pre-operative/pre-procedural screening prior to aerosol-generating procedures (AGP)
  • Inpatients to be discharged within 12 hrs to a SNF that requires COVID-19 testing
  • Patients to be enrolled in a research protocol that requires time-sensitive documentation of COVID-19


For Inpatients

  • In EPIC orders, enter “Rapid COVID” to find the order panel.
  • EPIC will instruct you to select: rapid COVID-19 testing only for asymptomatic patients

For Outpatients

  • Ordering provider or RN can contact Clinical Microbiology (206-744-5858) for instruction on how to order
  • OR palce a lab undifined order, specifically requesting a "SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Qualitative Rapid PCR"

    To ORDER at Fred Hutch:

    • In Epic, enter "Rapid COVID" to find the order panel.
    • Select SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Qualitative Rapid PCR - ONLY Asymptomatic

    Testing is performed upon receipt 6 am to 9 pm M-F and 7:30 am to 4:30 pm S/S/Holidays. The laboratory has the capacity for a maximum of 8 rapid tests (FABRCV + NCVRPD) every hour. Tests will be run in the order of receipt only. Tests remaining at the end of each day will be reordered under NCVQLT for transport to UW Virology.

    2019-nCoV, COVID, COVID-19, COVID19, nCoV, PUI nCoV, SARS, SARS-CoV-2, Wuhan Coronavirus



    Real-time RT-PCR (DiaSorin Molecular Simplexa™ COVID-19 Direct kit or Cepheid Xpert SARS-CoV-2)

    Reference Range
    See individual components

    Ordering & Collection

    Specimen Type
    nasopharyngeal (NP) swab, nasal (anterior nares) swab

    Instructions for Nasopharyngeal Swab: Gently insert mini-tipped flocked nasopharyngeal swab (swab on flexible plastic shaft) through the nostril and into the nasopharynx, reaching the posterior nasopharynx. Leave swab in place for 2-3 seconds then rotate completely around for 10-15 seconds. Remove swab and repeat the same process in the other nostril with the same swab.

    After the second swab is completed, immediately place into the sterile vial containing UTM or VTM. Make sure that the swab is fully immersed in media, and that the shaft is short enough to completely tighten the cap. Obtaining columnar epithelial cells will enhance reliability of viral detection.

    Tubes containing phosphate buffered saline (PBS) will be rejected. These include red-top Greiner "VACUETTE® Virus Stabilization Tubes." Specimens in PBS may be acceptable for the routine COVID-19 PCR test in the Virology laboratory.

    Approval Required
    Approval required - see instructions
    Handling Instructions

    See description above



    All processing is done at the performing location.


    LIS Dept Code
    Virology, Eastlake (EVIR)
    Performing Location(s)
    HMC Microbiology

    325 9th Ave, Rm # GWH-47, Seattle, WA 98104-2420

    UW-NW Main Lab

    UW Medical Center – Northwest
    1550 N 115th Street, A200
    Seattle, WA 98133

    FHCC Fred Hutch Alliance Lab

    825 Eastlake Ave, Seattle, WA 98109

    UW-MT Microbiology

    Clinical Lab, Room # NW177,
    University of Washington Medical Center,
    1959 NE Pacific street, Seattle, WA 98195

    See test information for schedule at each hospital
    Available STAT?

    Billing & Coding

    CPT codes
    Regulatory Category