Dedicated to protecting the health and safety
of Nebraskans through diagnostic laboratory
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Testing Results
IMPORTANT! Pre-approval needed from state or local health department. Local or State Health Department. Send approval to or call (402) 559-9444.

NPHL has moved to an electronic ordering system, NUlirt, and it is now the preferred method to order all tests. Once ordered, print a "batch list" (see NUlirt Guide).

Forms Required - Nulirt batch list or NPHL Test Request Form (completed in entirety) must accompany the specimen to include the following information: symptoms and date of onset, pregnancy status, travel and vaccine history. Testing will not be performed without all required information.


  Test: Real-Time RT-PCR Panel for Detection 2019-Novel Coronavirus 
  Synonym: Specific detection of 2019-nCoV, SARS-CoV 2, novel coronavirus 
  Method: Qualitative nucleic acid amplified real time RT-PCR ( rT-PCR) assay 
  Availability: Test performed Monday-Friday; Turn-around time 24-48hrs 
  Specimen: Nasopharyngeal swab (Preferred) and/or Oropharyngeal swab 
  Collection Device: Swab specimens should be collected only on swabs with a synthetic tip (such as polyester or Dacron®) with aluminum or plastic shafts. Do not use calcium alginate swabs or swabs with wooden shafts, as they may contain substances that inactivate some viruses and inhibit PCR testing. 
  Volume: 2-3 mL viral transport media such as Viral Transport Media (VTM), Universal Transport Media (UTM), M4 or V-C-M Medium 
  Storage/Transport: 2-8°C ; Specimens can be stored at 2-8°C for up to 72 hours after collection but should be transported to the Nebraska Public Health Lab as soon as possible for testing. 
  • Specimens not kept at 2-4°C (≤3 days) or frozen at -70°C or below.
  • Incomplete specimen labeling or documentation.
  • Inappropriate specimen type.
  • Insufficient specimen volume.
  • Swabs submitted with calcium alginate or cotton tips with wooden shafts are not acceptable.
  Specimen Stability: Refrigerated, 72 hours 
  Reference Interval: Presumptive Positive, Negative, Inconclusive and Specimen Unsatisfactory for 2019-nCoV, SARS-CoV 2 
  Reportable Disease: A presumptive positive 2019-nCoV result will be immediately called to the local or state health department 
  Comments: Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services must approve this test prior to it being sent for testing. Please contact your local health department to facilitate this process. Presumptive Positive – Confirmatory Testing Required by CDC 
  Revised: 4/3/2020 


If you have questions about proper specimen collection, please call NPHL Client Services at (402) 559-2440 or toll free at (866) 290-1406.