COVID-19 Batch Testing for Colleges and Universities

Northwest Laboratory offers batch testing for COVID-19, providing efficient and inexpensive screening of large populations of students and staff on campuses while maintaining the diagnostic accuracy of PCR testing.

How Batch Testing Works

  • Individual students or staff members undergo routine nasal swab collection.
  • Swabs from multiple individuals are placed in a single specimen tube.
  • The specimen is tested for COVID-19 at NW Laboratory using a highly accurate PCR test.
  • If the sample is negative, all individuals are negative.
  • If the specimen is positive, nasal swabs are re-collected from individuals in the batch and are tested separately by PCR to identify the positive individual(s) in the batch.

Northwest Laboratory Commits To:

  • Providing all test collection supplies at no cost.
  • Rapid processing of initial batch tests, with delivery of results directly into an electronic medical record (EMR) if desired.
  • Rapid processing of individual PCR tests.

Batch Testing Case Studies

  • Working with Northwest Laboratory, this state university has been successfully screening students on campus by batch testing since September 2020.
  • All students with a regular on-campus presence (living in housing, working or in face to face classes) are required to have COVID-19 screening every 2 weeks at the University’s COVID Testing Facility.
  • The Student Health Center performs 300-600 tests per day (30-60 batches), approximately 3-6 tests every 5 min (Mon-Thurs, 9a – 5p).
  • Fully integrated EMR allows students to schedule testing online, be electronically notified of results and recalled for repeat testing as needed.
  • Since the start of the 2020 academic year, over 16,000 students have been screened, using over 1,600 batch tests.
  • To date, 55 batches have been positive. The positive students in each batch were easily identified upon individual testing.
  • Benefits include enormous savings of cost, reagents and plastic specimen vials.
  • Several public schools in Washington State have used batch testing to screen staff before bringing students back to in-person learning.
  • One school system screened 800 adult staff and volunteers on a single day, a few days before having elementary and middle school students back in the school buildings.
  • Other smaller school systems are doing batch testing of staff for safety and peace of mind.

Additional Resources

These resources below offer current and up-to-date information on COVID-19 testing:

Fact Sheets for COVID-19 Authorized Tests

FACT SHEET FOR PATIENTS: Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. TaqPath™ COVID-19 Combo Kit and TaqPath™ COVID‑19 Combo Kit Advanced.


FACT SHEET FOR HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS: Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. TaqPath™ COVID-19 Combo Kit and TaqPath™ COVID‑19 Combo Kit Advanced.


For scheduling, results, or general questions related to COVID-19 testing,
please call our Customer Service Team at 360-527-4592 or email

The Customer Service Team is available Mon-Fri:
7am-10pm; Sat & Sun 8am-10pm PST.

To learn how to obtain

Rapid, Accurate COVID-19 Testing

for your organization or clinic, contact our Client Care Team:

(360) 527-4580  or