Specimen Collection & Laboratory Testing
APTIMA Unisex/Multitest Swab Collection

APTIMA Unisex/Multitest Swab Collection


Droplet / Contact Precautions

Throat and nares swabs can be performed using droplet and contact precautions and do not require an N95 respirator.

DO NOT use this swab for nasopharyngeal collection.

What Does it Look Like?

Aptima Swab

Specimen Collection

Follow the instruction video courtesy of Provincial Public Health Laboratory Network Nova Scotia

Step 1 Partially open the swab package and remove the swab. Do not touch the soft tip or lay the swab down. Have the patient tilt their head backwards, open their mouth, and stick out their tongue. Use a tongue depressor to hold the tongue in place.

Step 2 Hold the swab, placing the thumb and forefinger in the middle of the shaft covering the black score line. Do not hold the shaft below the score line. Without touching the sides of the mouth, swab the posterior nasopharynx and tonsillar arches.

Step 3 Using the same swab, ask the patient to tilt their head back. Insert the swab approximately 1-2cm into each nostril. Rotate the swab inside the nostril for 3 seconds, covering all surfaces.

Step 4 Immediately place the swab into the transport tube so the black score lines up with the top edge of the tube and carefully break the shaft. The swab will drop to the bottom of the vial.

DO NOT FORCE the swab through and DO NOT puncture the foil cap.

Step 5 Discard the top portion of the shaft. Tightly screw the cap onto the tube.

Be sure to label all specimens with the patient’s name and HSN (or date of birth)

Complete Requisition

Next Steps

  1. Place labelled specimen inside a biohazard bag (or any plastic zippered bag)
  2. Place completed requisition into rear pouch of biohazard bag (our outside plastic bag)
  3. Deliver to nearest laboratory as soon as possible. Keep specimens cool (refrigerate) until they are transported.

Remember, patients suspected of COVID-19 should undergo self-isolation at home until the receipt of negative test results, or placed on droplet and contact precautions if they are admitted to hospital

Test results will be available through E-health viewer or Sunrise Clinical Manager depending upon where testing was performed.


If you have questions relating to testing, please contact your Microbiologist on-call