COVID-19 Specimen Collection – A Win-Win?
Everyone is talking about avoiding being tested for COVID-19 due to the technique used to obtain the specimen. True, it is not the most pleasant experience, but the good news is there may be an alternative to the nasopharyngeal swab! On June 3, 2020, the New England Journal of Medicine reported a study on the collection of samples for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) testing. The study compared nasopharyngeal swab samples versus anterior nasal swab, mid-turbinate swab, or tongue swab. They found similar sensitivity and clinical usefulness with the alternative sample collection method compared to the uncomfortable nasopharyngeal process. Additionally, personal protective equipment Is not required for these alternative methods of sample collection. This could be a “win-win,” preserving much needed PPE while providing a more comfortable patient experience.
On May 22, 2020 (updated July 8, 2020), the CDC removed the preference for NP swabs for collecting COVID-19 specimens, and some health departments have approved the anterior nasal swab for nursing home residents and staff. Please contact your local health department for guidance prior to initiating alternative specimen collection procedures.
As always, contact HealthCap risk management with any questions, stay well, stay safe and stay tuned!