COVID-19: Information for hospitals and health systems
More than half of US hospitals and health systems trust Quest Diagnostics to deliver accurate and timely test results every day. During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can continue to rely on our fast action and clear insights in the face of uncertainty.
Just as we have during other health emergencies, the entire Quest team is rising above the challenge at hand. We’re here to empower your hospital and the communities you serve.
Quest helps strengthen your connection to the patients and healthcare workers who put their trust in you.
This page is updated frequently as new information becomes available and we continue increasing testing capacity to meet your needs.
Quest Diagnostics is receiving COVID-19 specimens and performing testing nationwide.
A molecular test (test code 39448) is available to test symptomatic patients for COVID-19. Through qualitative multi-target molecular diagnostics, this testing option helps to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2.
Quest processes four different molecular tests—the FDA Emergency Use Authorized Quest Diagnostics lab-developed test (LDT), the FDA Emergency Use Authorized Roche Diagnostics test, the FDA Emergency Use Authorized Hologic Panther Fusion test, and the FDA Emergency Use Authorized Hologic Panther Covid-19 molecular assay.
To simplify the test ordering process and further increase capacity, Quest has implemented a one code ordering system (test code 39448) that applies to all molecular tests.
- The IgG antibody test (test code 39504) is a specific test used to detect IgG antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in your blood. The IgG antibody test can help identify recent or prior infection to SARS-CoV-2 (which may be resolved or is still resolving), versus the molecular test which is used to help identify an active infection.
- The IgG antibody tests currently offered by Quest Diagnostics were granted Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) by the FDA for public health and clinical use—Abbott Architect, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, and EuroImmun. These tests have specificity values of 99.6% to 100% which minimizes false positives, and sensitivity values of approximately 90% to 100%.
- IgG antibody testing must be ordered by a physician. Patients may make an appointment at a Quest patient service center for this test.
The following co-testing options can help differentially detect or evaluate the pathogen(s) responsible for a patient’s respiratory infection. These co-testing options include many clinical advantages including, but not limited to, collecting a single specimen, potentially minimizing patient discomfort, and expediting time to diagnosis.
These tests include:
Quest Diagnostics patient service centers are not accepting patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and are not collecting respiratory specimens for COVID-19 molecular testing.
Blood specimens for SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing can be collected by a hospital or health system or in any healthcare setting where a licensed phlebotomist can draw blood. Quest will be collecting serology specimens at patient service centers (PSCs) by appointment across the country, but not during the hours designated for the Peace of Mind program reserved for patients at greatest risk for COVID-19.
The personnel at our PSCs are trained in collecting a range of specimens, including blood and urine, for various medical health conditions, but not respiratory specimens for COVID-19 or other respiratory illnesses such as influenza.
Quest recommends individuals who suspect they have COVID-19 contact their healthcare provider directly about COVID-19 testing. Quest laboratories are accepting and performing testing on COVID-19 specimens submitted by healthcare providers across the United States.
Important information about COVID-19 antibody testing
The test is designed to detect antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies are proteins that the body produces in response to infections. The antibodies can be produced even if a person has few or no symptoms during the infection.
It generally takes some time after infection for antibodies to be produced and become detectable in blood (sometimes up to 3 weeks). It is important to remember that we do not yet know whether having antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 will prevent against getting the infection again or if you are totally free of the virus. Antibodies are generally detectable in the blood for a period of time after a person has recovered from the infection and after the virus that caused the infection is no longer detectable by laboratory methods.
Sometimes the antibodies developed in response to an infection protect us from getting that same infection again. But, it is important to know that we do not yet know whether this is true for COVID-19. Even if you have recovered and have antibodies, there is a chance that you still have the virus and you can infect others, it is still critical to keep taking measures to avoid getting infected again and/or spreading infection.
The antibody test is not meant for detecting an active infection. The swab test (sometimes also known as a molecular, RNA or PCR test) should be used to test for active infection.
A negative antibody test result means that antibodies were not detected in your blood sample. This can have several possible meanings. It could mean that:
- You have not been infected with SARS-CoV-2, or
- You have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, but your antibodies have not reached a sufficient level for the test to be able to detect them, or
- You have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, but there has not been enough time for antibodies to develop (it can take up to one to three weeks to develop antibodies after someone is infected, sometimes longer).
A positive antibody test result means that antibodies were detected in your blood sample. This can have a couple of possible meanings. It could mean that:
- You have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 at some point in the past, or
- Uncommonly, you may have developed antibodies from an earlier infection with a different virus related to SARS-CoV-2 and the laboratory test cannot distinguish between these other virus antibodies and those antibodies generated in response to SARS-CoV-2.
COVID-19 testing statements
- The antibody tests and the molecular tests (together “All tests”) have not been FDA cleared or approved;
- All tests have been authorized by FDA under EUAs for use by authorized laboratories;
- The antibody tests have been authorized only for the detection of IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens;
- The molecular tests have been authorized only for the detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses, pathogens; and,
- All tests are only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 under Section 564(b)(1) of the Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the authorization is terminated or revoked sooner.