Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19 PCR Testing

Mayo Clinic Laboratories has developed testing that can aid in the detection of the virus that causes COVID-19  using a technique known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The following addresses some of the most frequently asked questions about this testing.

Q: What Mayo Clinic Laboratories tests are currently available to aid in the diagnosis of COVID-19 infection?

Mayo Clinic Laboratories offers a test, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA Detection (Mayo ID: COVID) to aid in the diagnosis of COVID-19 infection.

Q: What specimen types are required?

This test requires upper respiratory tract specimens. If you have lower respiratory tract specimens that need testing, please contact your local representative or Mayo Laboratory Inquiry at 800-533-1710.

Q: Does a positive result mean a patient has COVID-19?

A detected result indicates that SARS-CoV-2 RNA is present and suggests the diagnosis of COVID-19. Test results should always be considered in the context of a patient’s clinical history, physical examination, and epidemiologic exposures when making the final diagnosis.

Q: Who should order this test?

This test should be requested only on patients who meet current clinical and/or epidemiologic criteria defined by federal, state, or local public health directives. Visit the CDC website for guidelines.