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NC Department of Health and Human Services
State Laboratory of Public Health
N.C. Public Health Home

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

COVID-19 RT-PCR test orders for specimens submitted to NCSLPH must be placed online in our ETOR system. If you have questions regarding ETOR, please contact NCSLPH Customer Service at 919-733-3937 or

Clinical Laboratory Guidance

Specimen Collection

Handout for Collecting and Sending COVID-19 and Influenza Specimens to the NCSLPH (PDF, 561 KB) - Last updated 06/16/2023

Specimen Shipment to SLPH

  • Specimens should be packaged and shipped as UN3373 Category B if using a commercial courier. Please see this June 19, 2020 memo and poster from the US DOT reviewing Category B shipping and safe COVID-19 specimen transport.
  • Local Health Departments may ship specimens using the SLPH Medical Courier.
  • Specimen may be hand delivered at the NCSLPH loading dock from 8am-5pm Monday through Friday, and 8am-12pm on Saturday.

Specimen Rejection Criteria

  • Specimens not received at 2-8°C (≤72 hrs) or frozen at -70°C (>72 hrs old).
  • Incomplete specimen labeling or documentation. 
  • Inappropriate specimen type.
  • Insufficient specimen volume for testing.

Result Reporting

Clinical Laboratory Safety Guidance

For Additional Information

  • For general information, non-urgent laboratory questions about specimen collection, testing, and reporting please email the NCSLPH COVID-19 helpdesk at
  • For critical laboratory-related questions during normal business hours (8am - 5pm, Monday - Friday) please call the SLPH Customer Service line at 919-733-3937.
  • Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Providers needing consultation can call the epidemiologist on call at 919-733-3419.

External Resources