COVID-19 - guidance for sampling and laboratory investigations

Publication Date: 10 March 2021


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This guidance is to support those working in sampling and laboratory investigations. This guidance covers:

  • sample collection for PCR testing
  • clinical indications for serology testing
  • protocol for reporting SARS-CoV-2 PCR positives during periods of low prevalence
  • results of testing
  • guidance for microbiologists and virologists

Workforce education information and resources

​Packaging samples​

This is a guidance video which outlines the correct way to package samples from suspected COVID-19 patients for Category B transport, in line with UN3373 requirements.

Obtaining an upper respiratory tract diagnostic sample

HPS, with support from stakeholders, has produced a short video clip to support colleagues required to obtain an upper respiratory tract diagnostic sample.

This resource describes the techniques involved in obtaining an upper respiratory tract COVID-19 diagnostic sample and covers the:

  • options available in relation to COVID-19-Upper respiratory tract samples
  • technique involved in obtaining a nose swab
  • technique involved in obtaining a throat swab

Resource information

Public Health Scotland
Publication type:
Guideline and Guidance


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