Laboratory Services


Attention: Testing services may be reduced or delayed 


For over 90 years the Lab has worked tirelessly to keep Texans safe and healthy. The Department of State Health Services Lab is one of the largest public health laboratories in the U.S. Annually, we test more than 1 million samples for infectious and food-borne diseases, biological and chemical compounds, and biological agents. And every year more than 400,000 Texas babies are screened twice for 54 metabolic and genetic disorders. The lab also helps keep our drinking water safe by testing water from the over 6800 public water systems.

Notice regarding testing and submission of specimens for COVID-19 testing to the DSHS Austin Laboratory

As of April 1, 2020, the Texas DSHS Laboratory has made the following changes regarding acceptable specimens for COVID-19 testing. 

1.   The recommended specimen type is still a Nasopharyngeal (NP) swab (Dacron-tipped with a plastic or aluminum shaft) in viral transport media (VTM). If VTM is unavailable Universal Transport Media (UTM), Amies, or 0.85% Saline may be substituted.

2.   Nasal swabs and nasal mid-turbinate (NMT) swabs are now acceptable.  Oropharyngeal (OP) swabs are still an acceptable specimen type.

**Please continue to send a single specimen.  If multiple specimens are received, only 1 swab will be tested in an effort to maximize resources.**

3.   The DSHS Interim COVID-19 Case Report Form (found at https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/public-health.aspx) must be included with each sample submission.

For further details, please see the “Specimen Types” and “Specimen Collection and Handling” Sections of the COVID-19 Specimen Collection and Submission Instructions located on the DSHS Laboratory website

PUI ID is no longer required.  However, ALL specimens for COVID-19 testing require preapproval.   Contact your Local Health Department or DSHS Public Health Region (https://www.dshs.texas.gov/regions/2019-nCoV-Local-Health-Entities/) to ensure patient meets Patient Under Investigation (PUI) criteria for testing and to obtain DSHS approval to test. Specimens MUST meet DSHS PUI criteria prior to shipping and WILL NOT be tested without prior approval.  Please DO NOT ship specimens prior to receiving this approval.

For additional information and ongoing updates regarding the COVID-19 situation, please go to:

https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ 

Email: coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov

DSHS COVID‑19 Call Center:  2-1-1 Option 6 
Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Monday – Friday 

Posted April 1, 2020


ATTENTION  BACTERIOLOGICAL WATER CUSTOMERS

Public Water Systems and Private

Effective March 30, 2020

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 response efforts, the hours and times for bacteriological water receipt will change to the following starting on March, 30, 2020.

Water samples accepted Monday – Thursday 8am – 2pm (Except Federal Holidays).

An updated notification will be sent when we resume to our regular schedule of Monday – Thursday 8am – 4pm (Except Federal Holidays). 

For questions or comments: Call toll free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7598 or for local calls 512-776-7598


Last updated April 2, 2020