Urgent HIS COVID Specimens

Download a PDF version of this memo here

If you have a High Index of Suspicion COVID specimen that requires urgent pick-up for delivery to the laboratory – phone your local laboratory and advise them that you require an urgent pick-up.

Provide the laboratory with the following details:

  • Your name and contact number
  • The name and address of the practice
  • The name of the referrer
  • Patient details
  • Clinical details

The practice must ensure they have the specimen ready for pick-up in a suitable transport container to ensure privacy and IPC requirements.

The laboratory provides this urgent service with the following restrictions:

  • Clinical details as per protocol for HIS are required on the request form so requests can be appropriately identified and managed in the laboratory
  • The laboratory will determine if a laboratory courier is due at that medical centre within the next 15-30 minutes AND will arrive at the laboratory within the hour
  • If a courier pick-up cannot get the specimen to the laboratory within the hour a taxi will be booked
  • The laboratory will notify, by phone, the person requesting the urgent pick up what arrangements have been made


  • If the specimen does not meet the requirements of a HIS or has not been requested by Public Health or the Clinical Microbiologist the laboratory will decline an urgent pick-up. You will be notified by phone. You can speak to the person declining the urgent pick-up.
  • For practices outside city/local boundaries contact your local lab to find out courier times and to make suitable arrangements with the Lab Manager, on-call Scientist (out of hours) and Public Health to ensure specimen transport and testing is arranged within an acceptable time-frame and cost.

For more information contact Gayleen Parslow – HOD Microbiology at gayleen.parslow@sclabs.co.nz