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

TriCore launched the CDC assay for COVID-19 testing on March 12, 2020, one day after the first positive case in New Mexico. Since that time, we have brought live multiple testing platforms to increase testing capacity for our community. In addition to maximizing our instrument testing pool at our core laboratory in Albuquerque, we have decentralized testing to our hospital labs statewide and our Southern New Mexico Core lab in Las Cruces. Our diversification strategy - multiple platforms, multiple methodologies and multiple locations – allows us maintain testing during potential reagent shortages by any one manufacturer.

Increased capacity means more results, faster.
  • The BLUE BARS represent the demand for COVID-19 testing. These are the number of COVID-19 specimens received in our Core Lab each week.
  • The RED LINE represents TriCore’s turnaround time for COVID-19 samples, the amount of time (in hours) it takes for us to deliver a result from the time the specimen is collected. TriCore’s Turnaround time is impacted by changes in testing volume and availability of testing resources from manufacturers. We are actively prioritizing testing, ensuring the tests most impacting patient care are processed ahead of surveillance and asymptomatic testing.
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For Patients

NM Sites for COVID-19 Screening/Specimen Collection
  • 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: As the needs of the community shift during the pandemic, TriCore will adjust the hours of its Patient Care Centers to optimize care for patients. The most up to date information can be found at
  • 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. When there is not enough lobby room to adequeately social distance, we ask patients to wait outsite or 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 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 or nasal 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.

TriCore Turnaround Time Turnaround time is impacted by changes in volume and availability of testing resources from manufacturers. We are prioritizing testing, ensuring the tests most impacting patient care are processed ahead of surveillance and asymptomatic testing. Based on allocation limits for testing reagents, current TAT on COVID specimens is as follows:

    • TriCore’s current inpatient/ED patient turnaround time is within 24 hours of specimen receipt in the Core Lab.
    • TriCore’s current outpatient turnaround time is approximately 72 hours from specimen receipt in the Core Lab. Please indicate this to patients in outpatient clinics and recommend self-quarantine practices during the wait time.

Results Reporting

    • TriCore will call positive results to the provider and notify the Department of Health, and, for hospitalized patients, that hospital’s Infection Control.
    • TriCore will report negative results via normal channels for the ordering provider.
    • NMDOH has deployed an online tool for patients to view their COVID test results. TriCore results are included. You may refer patients to the NMDOH COVID Patient Results Portal here:

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: