COVID-19

TriCore’s focus is on the health, well-being, and safety of our employees, patients, and partners. We are closely monitoring the coronavirus pandemic and will keep you appraised of the situation. Please check back often, as this information is changing rapidly.

NMDOH is integrating all TriCore volume and percent positive data into the COVID-19 counts on their website. Please use the NMDOH website as the single source of NM COVID-19 testing volumes and results.

COVID-19 in New Mexico

For Patients

NM Sites for COVID-19 Screening/Specimen Collection
  • TriCore Patient Care Centers are not performing collections for COVID-19. Patients should contact their healthcare provider for COVID-19 specimen collection options.
  • COVID-19 testing must be ordered by a physician or other authorized healthcare provider. Patients who are concerned that they or a family member are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately to determine their next steps.
  • TriCore Patient Care Centers Updated Hours: While TriCore has been at the forefront in the testing for COVID-19, we have seen a change in the number of patients at TriCore’s patient care centers. Some sites have seen an increase while others have experienced a marked decrease. To meet the needs of our communities, for patient and employee safety, and to optimize valuable resources (employee expertise and personal protective equipment), TriCore is temporarily consolidating and altering hours of some of our patient care centers, effective April 20, 2020. Updated hours can be found on: www.tricore.org/locations.
  • Safety at TriCore's Patient Care Centers TriCore regards patient and staff safety as paramount, and we are taking a many-layered approach to reduce exposure to the COVID-19 virus at our Patient Care Centers. Our sites are cleaned and sanitized regularly with extra attention to high-use areas. Our staff are fully trained in the modes of transmission and safety procedures in accordance with CDC recommendations. All locations have signage instructing patients to practice social distancing, and we limit the number of people accompanying a patient to only those requiring assistance or a guardian. We ask patients to wait in their cars until it is their turn for collection, where it is logistically possible. Masks are available for patients, as appropriate.
  • NM Department of Health has deployed an online tool for you to look up your COVID-19 test results.
  • COVID-19 Test Results

For Providers

TriCore's COVID-19 Molecular Test

COVID-19 in TriCore’s Directory of Service: COVID-19 Test

TriCore Reference Laboratories offers a molecular diagnostic test of respiratory specimens for COVID-19 infection. Please find the most up-to-date information on this test in our Test Directory, via the link above or accessible on tricore.org in the provider section (enter COVID). Information maintained in the Test Directory includes: list price, CPT code, collection and transport instructions, and turnaround (TAT) time.

COVID-19 Specimen Collection and Ordering

    • Only one (1) specimen, a nasopharyngeal swab, is needed for COVID-19 testing. Specimens should be collected as soon as possible once a Person of Interest (PUI) is identified, regardless of the time of symptom onset.*
    • As an alternative to viral transport medium (VTM), TriCore can accept swabs in sterile saline or liquid amies for COVID-19 testing.
    • Send specimens to TriCore’s Core lab via normal courier service.
    • Orders:
    • electronic: order COVID | if not an option, order MISREF with COVID as the test name.
    • manual: write COVID as the test name.

Collection Kits and Supplies As you are likely aware, there is a national allocation of collection kit supplies. If you are facing a shortage, the New Mexico Department of Health is your best resource at this time. As an alternative to the VTM, TriCore can now accept swabs in sterile saline or liquid amies for COVID-19.

TriCore Turnaround Time Turnaround time is impacted by changes in volume and availability of testing resources from manufacturers; this changes daily. Our current TAT for COVID-19 ranges from less than 24 hours to approximately 48 hours from the time the specimen arrives in our Core Lab in Albuquerque.

Results Reporting

    • NMDOH COVID Patient Results Portal: https://cvresults.nmhealth.org/
    • NMDOH has deployed an online tool for patients to view their COVID test results. TriCore results are included. You may refer patients to this portal as a resource. The link (above) is accessible on the NMDOH website on the CORONAVIRUS UPDATES page.
    • TriCore will call positive results to the provider, Department of Health, and, for hospitalized patients, that hospital’s Infection Control.
    • TriCore will report negative results via normal channels for the ordering provider.

FAQs SARS-CoV-2 Test Performance Explained: FAQs SARS-CoV-2 Test Performance Sensitivity and Specificity Fact Sheet The sensitivity and specificity fact sheet, above, offers answers to these frequently asked questions:

    • What is the Sensitivity of the Test?
    • What is the Specificity of the Test?
    • How to Collect a High-Quality Specimen for SARS-CoV-2?

TriCore’s RESPAN panel We have had several questions about the respiratory panel (RESPAN) test used at TriCore. RESPAN detects 4 variants of the coronavirus (OC43, NL63, HKU1, 229E). These strains are different from the SARS-CoV-2 strain. Based on analysis by the manufacturer, our current test will not detect SARS-CoV-2.

TriCore's COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) Serological Testing

COVID-19 Antibodies

Unlike molecular tests used to detect the SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA from nasopharyngeal and other respiratory specimens, serological tests are blood tests that are used to detect the presence of antibodies produced by the immune system in response to the infection. TriCore offers this test for specific indications with a provider order. For an overview of the test and the indications for testing, please review the technical note: http://www.tricore.org/sfc/servlet.shepherd/version/download/068f3000006UxKZAA0