CDC Refrigeration Guidelines for Submitting COVID-19 Specimens for Testing

More than 11 million people in Canada have been tested for COVID-19, and thousands more are tested each day. To maximize the accuracy of these results, significant care must be exercised while handling and transporting these samples.

Here, we discuss some of the most important guidelines for sample safety in line with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Healthcare personnel and testing agencies looking for more details should go through the CDC’s website.

Collecting Samples Safely

The healthcare personnel collecting specimens should wear recommended personal protective equipment and maintain proper infection control. Appropriate PPE includes eye protection, N95 mask or respirator, gloves, and a gown.

For healthcare individuals handling specimens but not directly involved in collecting them should take standard precautions too. They must also wear a face mask when inside any healthcare facility, including a testing facility.

Handling Specimen Swabs

Once the specimen has been acquired, the swabs should be immediately put into a sterile transport tube containing sterile saline or viral transport medium (VTM). These specimens should be handled in a sanitary environment to maintain their integrity.

Specimen Storage

Specimen storage and refrigeration specifications differ slightly depending on the type of testing that needs to be conducted. Here’s an overview of each:

Molecular Testing

Molecular testing is conducted to check for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These tests are conducted largely using swab tests and should be refrigerated at 2–8°C promptly after collection.

  • Specimens shipped within 72 hours should be transported on ice packs
  • Specimens shipped after 72 hours should be stored at -70°C and shipped on dry ice

Serology Testing

These tests are blood specimens that are used to discover past exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

  • Specimens shipped to labs within 72 hours should be transported on ice packs at temperatures between 2–8°C
  • Specimens shipped after 72 hours should be stored at -20°C and shipped on dry ice

Choose Medical-Grade Biomedical Refrigerators

Z-SC1 Corp. has over 25 years of experience in designing and manufacturing high-performance biomedical refrigerators and ULT freezers for the pharmaceutical sector.

Our medical-grade laboratory freezers offer uniform temperatures with heavy-duty refrigeration systems that meet standards outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In particular, our new Twincore Eco Ultra Low Freezer is ideal for storing COVID-19 vaccines and specimens.

For inquiries and technical support, contact us today.