COVID-19 Provider Testing

Last modified: March 31, 2020
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UAMS recognizes that health care partnerships across Arkansas are key to limiting the spread of COVID-19. UAMS is uniquely positioned to be a resource to the state which now includes COVID-19 in-house testing.  

If you are an Arkansas health care provider and need information about UAMS COVID-19 testing, call the 24-hour UAMS Physician Call Center at 501-686-6080. 

As UAMS in-house testing capabilities are available, testing capacity is dynamic based on availability of testing supplies (swabs, media, testing cartridges and other reagents).  Therefore, testing at UAMS is initially prioritized for

  1. Hospitalized patients (ICU or inpatient), in Arkansas hospitals, with suspected COVID19
  2. Health care workers with symptoms and/or exposure

We will continue to offer reference lab testing for additional patient populations as send-out testing through our reference laboratories.  As additional in-house capacity of supplies and lab testing comes on line, additional at-risk populations will be added for testing. 

If you need to send a COVID-19 specimen to UAMS, you will need to do the following:

  • Obtain the specimen sample with a nasopharyngeal swab and at least 1.5 mL of viral transport media (UAMS is not able to provide the transport media)
  • Have the specimen to UAMS within 12 hours of collection. Specimen can be room temperature or refrigerated (do not freeze).
  • Make sure tubes are securely closed to prevent leaks and transport in a sealed secondary container (such as a sealed plastic bag.)
  • Provide the courier and drop off specimen to the UAMS Clinical Laboratory receiving window, hospital ground floor, Room B095.  Enter through the UAMS Medical Center main entrance and call the lab at 501-686-6230. Courier will receive a health screening upon arrival. 
  • If specimens are sent by mail, they must be shipped in accordance to IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations as UN 3373 Biological Substance, Category B.

Note: UAMS suggests couriers have DOT/IATA certification to transport potentially infectious specimens, but it is not required.

If these steps are unattainable, we ask you continue to use a commercial laboratory.

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Some of these documents have been developed based on current needs and experiences. UAMS is an entity of the state which may have different requirements under federal and state law than your hospital, doctors, and other providers. This information is provided as a public service in response to continuing questions from various community providers. All information is subject to change as our response to this pandemic challenge continues. Consult your practice or facility leadership before adopting any practices or protocols provided here.