Requesting Specimen Collection Supplies

NC Department of Health and Human Services and the NC Department of Public Safety understand organizations across North Carolina need COVID-19 specimen collection supplies to test for COVID-19. The state and federal government are actively working to get specimen collection supplies to those who need it.

In North Carolina, a process has been developed to fulfill requests for specimen collection supplies to ensure these supplies are available to support COVID-19 testing for those who have the greatest need. 

If your facility is not able to purchase needed specimen collection supplies, please use the following link to request specimen collection supplies: https://nc.readyop.com/fs/4cER/0cbc

Collection supplies include swabs and transport media. It is important to know what types of swabs and transport media are accepted by the COVID-19 testing laboratory that will receive the specimens collected with these supplies. The following bulk supplies are available:

  • Swabs 
    • Nasopharyngeal swabs – individually wrapped
    • Nasal swabs – individually wrapped
    • Nasal swabs – bulk wrapped (Please see full CDC guidance on bulk-packaged swabs)
  • Media (Refer to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration FAQ for a full list of approved media.)  
    • Viral Transport Media (VTM)
    • Universal Transport Media (UTM)
    • Molecular Transport Media (MTM) – NOTE: MTM is incompatible with some testing platforms.  Please confirm with your testing laboratory to determine if they will accept specimens collected into MTM.
    • Sterile Saline/Phosphate Buffered Saline (PBS)

Specimen collection kits or bulk supplies for submission of specimens to the NC State Laboratory of Public Health (NCSLPH) for COVID-19 testing can also be requested from this site. Testing through the NCSLPH is available for prioritized populations.

Clinicians can submit specimens to NCSLPH for persons with symptoms compatible with COVID-191 who are in one of the following six categories:

  1. Hospitalized patients;
  2. Healthcare workers or first responders;
  3. Persons who live in or have regular contact with a high-risk setting2 ;
  4. Persons who are at higher risk of severe illness and for whom a clinician has determined that results would inform clinical management;
  5. Uninsured patients; and
  6. Post-mortem specimens from patients in whom COVID-19 was suspected but not confirmed prior to death.

As a result of severe disruptions in the global supply network, full requests may not be provided due to limited quantities on hand. Requests will be filled as quantities are made available.

If you have questions about how to put in a specimen collection supply request, email PHPR.SNS@dhhs.nc.gov.