Pooled Sample Testing FAQ
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Written by Color Support
Updated over a week ago

What is pooled sample testing?

Pooled sample testing means that two or more people provide specimens that are combined together and one laboratory test is conducted to detect SARS-CoV-2. This uses fewer resources and means testing can be conducted at a lower cost.

What is the difference between a pooled sample test and an individual test?

While the results from an individual test will tell you whether you may be infected with the virus, the results from a pooled sample test tells you that someone who provided a specimen in the pool may be infected with the virus. Because samples from two or more people are combined together in a pooled sample test, it does not provide individual results.

Why do I need to get tested?

Pooled sample testing, or sample pooling, allows a group of people to be tested with almost the same amount of resources as needed for one individual test. It means that we can identify whether a group of people may be infected with SARS-CoV-2 and follow up with individual tests only for those who were part of a pool that was positive.

Does a pooled sample test tell me if I’m sick with COVID-19?

No. A pooled sample test is not used for diagnostic purposes. In order to know whether you are infected with the virus, you will need to take an individual test.

What should I do if my pool’s result is positive?

Your testing partner will share next steps.

If the result for your pool was positive, it doesn’t mean that you are infected with SARS-CoV-2, but it is important to take precautions, isolate, and get an individual test.

A pool with a positive result means that at least one of the individuals who provided a specimen may have been infected with SARS-CoV-2. Each of the people in the pool will need to be tested with an individual test.

What should I do if my pool’s result is negative?

While a pooled sample test does not give individual results, if the result for your pool was negative you can continue your normal activities, including getting tested through your organization’s testing program.

If you currently have symptoms or develop symptoms, it is recommended that you get tested with an individual test, isolate, and contact your healthcare provider.

Continue to follow the guidance from your program and the CDC on how to avoid getting sick or transmitting the virus to others.

What should I do if my pool’s result is invalid or inconclusive?

An invalid result means that the lab was unable to perform the test. An inconclusive result means that the lab was unable to classify the result as positive or negative. Your testing partner will follow their protocol for these situations. They may ask you to submit another sample for a pooled test.

Additional Resources:


Phone Number: (844) 352-6567

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