• Patients who meet the criteria for Clinical suspicion should undergo testing for the following
  1. SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19)
  2. Other respiratory pathogens
  • CDC recommends the collection of specimens to test for SARS-CoV-2 form the following
    1. Nasopharyngeal swab
    2. Oropharyngeal swab
    3. Lower respiratory tract specimens like sputum, tracheal aspirate or bronchoalveolar lavage.
  • If the initial testing is negative and still there is a high suspicion of COVID-19, the WHO recommends resampling from different sites of the respiratory tract and testing.
  • *There are some reported cases with negative RT-PCR tests on oropharyngeal swab despite CT findings of viral pneumonia that have ultimately tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.

For more information, CDC link available here https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-guidance-management-patients.html


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32027631-initial-public-health-response-and-interim-clinical-guidance-for-the-2019-novel-coronavirus-outbreak-united-states-december-31-2019-february-4-2020/?from_single_result=32027631
  2. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance/surveillance-and-case-definitions
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32049601-chest-ct-for-typical-2019-ncov-pneumonia-relationship-to-negative-rt-pcr-testing/?from_single_result=32049601