02/21/2020: Lab Advisory: Laboratory Biosafety COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

CDC's Laboratory Outreach Communication System (LOCS)

Audience: Clinical Laboratory Professionals

Level: Laboratory Advisory

Laboratory Biosafety COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Please note the CDC’s COVID-19 Information for Laboratories web page was updated on February 20, 2020. This revision includes a list of Laboratory Biosafety Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for specimen handling, packing, and shipping associated with persons under investigation (PUI) for COVID-19. The main topics discussed in the FAQs include:

  • Performing risk assessments to identify and mitigate risks
  • Using a certified biological safety cabinet (BSC) for specimen processing and what to do when a BSC is not available
  • Understanding the recommended biosafety level for handling clinical specimens
  • Using the appropriate disinfectants to decontaminate work surfaces
  • Storing specimens
  • Handling biohazardous waste
  • Transporting specimens within a facility or laboratory
  • Following packaging and shipping requirements

For additional information related to the Interim Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines for Handling and Processing Specimens Associated with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), please refer to the CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Laboratory Biosafety website.

The COVID-19 website is regularly updated as CDC learns more about COVID-19 and the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Please check the website routinely to ensure your laboratory staff have the most up-to-date information. Consider asking your web developer or IT team to add CDC’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 Microsite to your website for real-time content updates, including the Information for Laboratories subsite.

Additional Resources:

If you have any questions, please contact us at LOCS@cdc.gov.

Laboratory Outreach Communication System | Division of Laboratory Systems (DLS)

Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services (CSELS)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)