If you are evaluating a patient who you feel should be tested for COVID-19 and you have the ability to collect a specimen and send it to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory (GPHL), please submit a test request at https://sendss.state.ga.us/survey/form/12698.
Only sample requests submitted by healthcare providers who can collect and send a sample to GPHL will be considered. If you are a person seeking testing for yourself or you are a provider who cannot collect a sample on your patient yourself, the person seeking testing may self-refer by locating the phone number of the SPOC that services the county the person lives in at https://dph.georgia.gov/covidtesting.
If you submit a request through the survey above, you will NOT be able to return to the survey to make changes, so please complete it in one session. Be sure to complete the form as best you can. If you need to change information in the survey you submitted, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: the confirmation you receive after submitting the PUI testing request is not an approval for testing. Once you complete the survey please collect the required specimens and store in your facility. An Epidemiologist will review your paperwork between 8am and 8pm each day, and you will receive a separate email with a testing decision. IF TESTING IS APPROVED, YOU WILL BE NOTIFIED VIA A SECOND EMAIL and you will receive information with laboratory forms and shipping instructions. Do not ship samples without prior approval from DPH, this will significantly delay testing if later approved.
If you would prefer, you can also submit for COVID-19 testing through a commercial laboratory. Various commercial laboratories are now performing testing; please call the commercial lab your facility uses or see their website for details on specimen submission. Public Health will not triage calls about these patients.
Specimen Collection and Storage for GPHL and Commercial Laboratories
A nasopharyngeal (NP) swab is the preferred sample type. However, if you are unable to collect a NP, a nasal (NS) swab OR oropharyngeal (OP) swab is also acceptable for symptomatic patients. If a NS is used, both nares should be swabbed with a single swab. Use only synthetic fiber swabs with plastic shafts. Do not use calcium alginate swabs or swabs with wooden shafts, as these may cause testing errors. Place swab immediately into a sterile tube containing 2-3 ml of viral transport media (preferred). Amies transport medium or sterile saline may be used if VTM is unavailable. Store swab promptly after collection at 2-8° Celsius for no more than 72 hours prior to transporting. Guidance for safe sample collection of both NP or NS: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/lab/guidelines-clinical-specimens.html
If your patient is healthy enough to be discharged, they must go home and self-isolate in their home to prevent the spread of disease until we have results. Share the following guidance with the patient and caregiver: DPH guidance for people with or exposed to COVID-19: https://dph.georgia.gov/isolation-contact
If your patient is sick enough to be admitted please follow CDCs healthcare guidance: CDC Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel, COVID-19. If possible, keep the patient in a negative pressure room, if this is unavailable, a private room with its own bathroom is recommended. Providers should use standard, contact, and droplet precautions with eye protection (e.g., goggles or a disposable face shield that covers the front and sides of the face).
Please contact 1-866-PUB-HLTH or email@example.com if you have any questions.
The DPH COVID-19 Response Team