COVID-19 pathology testing

Monday, 16 March 2020

With the many issues facing the medical profession associated with the escalating coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology (DHM) recognises that, as your pathology practice, we have an important role to play in supporting you and your patients, most notably in the area of coronavirus and respiratory virus testing.

This is the first in a series of short updates, designed to keep you informed of our current status as it applies to coronavirus testing. Because conditions are changing so rapidly, we undertake to provide similar updates at regular intervals, so that you remain informed and up to date about our testing protocols, capacities and capabilities.   

DHM COVID-19 collection centres

A limited number of DHM collection centres have now been designated as COVID-19 only testing facilities. Please click here for an up-to-date list of these locations.

We have taken this step to improve throughput and to enhance our testing capacity. With stringent safety procedures associated with COVID-19 specimen collection, these centres will be operated by staff members who have expertise covering all aspects of coronavirus/respiratory virus specimen handling, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). The dedicated centres have been carefully selected, with no shared facilities.

Due to the high demand for respiratory virus testing, it will not be possible for us to collect specimens for any other tests in our COVID-19 centres. If you require collection for other tests, please kindly direct your patients to another convenient DHM collection centre close by.

DHM COVID-19 Booking Hotline – 1800 026 622 (Mon–Fri 9am–5pm , Sat 9am–12pm)

All patients who have a pathology request form for coronavirus testing are asked to call our newly established COVID-19 Booking Hotline on 1800 026 622 (Mon–Fri 9am5pm , Sat 9am12pm ). This is a well-staffed, central booking service established to coordinate all coronavirus appointments at our dedicated COVID-19 collection centres.

Only refer low-risk patients

Only low-risk COVID-19 patients should be referred to a DHM COVID-19 collection centre. All high-risk patients (fever or significant respiratory symptoms) must be referred to a local hospital. Patients referred to us should arrive wearing a mask, if available.

Laboratory testing for COVID-19

We have commenced in-house testing for COVID-19 at DHM and the turnaround time for test results is approximately 48 hours (this may be subject to change). We expect to ramp up our testing capacity to meet the prevailing demand.

Further information

We remain fully committed to the service of patients requiring COVID-19 testing, notwithstanding some of the impediments we face in this area, including a world-wide shortage of PPE collection gear and testing reagents. We continue to fine-tune both the collection and laboratory testing streams of the testing protocol, in order to adapt successfully to the changing conditions.

Importantly, we undertake to work closely with you and to keep you informed of changes that take place. Our website will be updated regularly with pertinent COVID-19 information and, as mentioned above, we will continue to communicate directly with you via further updates such as this one. Included with this update is a simple COVID-19 factsheet, which you are welcome to distribute freely to your patients.