skip to Main Content
RT-PCR Testing for COVID-19

Identify High Risk Areas

We value expertise, scientists in their fields with proven knowledge and skills to meet environmental challenges known and unknown.

Ensure Worker Health & Safety

We value technical proficiency and the ability to master the latest skills, methods and tests in laboratory and environmental sciences.

Implement Risk Management Plans

We value hard work and dedication. Whether tackling an emergency situation or long-term project, we are committed to giving clients our best.

Monitor for Early Detection

We value team work. Many projects require multiple disciplines and the flexibility to work together as different issues and challenges arise.

Validate Effective Cleaning Methods

We value the cutting edge. And we are prepared to meet any challenge with the latest technologies, methods and tests available.

Respond to a Case of COVID-19

We value honesty and character as a company. But we know that a good reputation is always built by the people behind it.

Do you need testing for your workplace?

Frequently Asked Questions

Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (or RT-PCR) is a technique used to measure RNA. The technique works by converting RNA into its complementary DNA (cDNA) strands using a transcriptase enzyme that is then amplified using the polymerase chain reaction. The amplified cDNA is measured using fluorescent compounds added to the mixture that bind to the cDNA. Specific primers and probes are also added to the mixture that are unique to the COVID-19 virus that ensure that only RNA from the COVID-19 virus is detected.

The RT-PCR Test is used to examine surfaces for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Studies have shown that under certain conditions SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can live for a period of time on surfaces outside the human body. Scientists have reported that the virus can remain active on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to two to three days and for up to 24 hours on cardboard. These findings suggest that individuals may acquire SARS-CoV-2 after touching a contaminated surface or object with the virus on it and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. While the COVID-19 virus is easily killed using soap and water or an EPA-approved disinfectant, its presence on a surface following treatment is the most definitive test to validate the efficacy of a cleaning and disinfection protocol of high-touch surfaces to protect against infection from the COVID-19 virus.

RT-PCR testing utilizes swap samples of potentially infected surfaces which are then sent to the HP Environmental laboratory for testing. For a full description of the sampling procedure, see the instructions and guideline below (“Testing for the Presence of SARS-CoV-2 on Surfaces” / “Sampling Procedure”).

The test reports the presence/absence of RNA characteristic of SARS-CoV-2, which is the cause of COVID-19. The test measures the same gene targets (ORF1ab, N gene & S gene) as clinical tests used for COVID-19 testing in humans. Since this test is specific to SARS-CoV-2 and no other virus, it is the most direct, specific and sensitive test to detect the presence of COVID-19 virus RNA on a surface.

For a COVID-19 virus to be infectious, its cell membrane and nucleocapsid (structural protein that encapsidates the viral RNA) must be intact. Unprotected viral RNA is unstable in the environment as RNA-degrading enzymes can destroy it rapidly. Therefore, a positive swab test of a surface would indicate the presence of the COVID-19 virus RNA in a stable, hence potentially infectious form.

No. While the test reports the presence/absence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA and measures the same gene targets as clinical tests used for COVID-19 testing in humans, this test is designed to detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus RNA on a physical surface such as desks, doorknobs, and other “high-touch” surfaces.

Instructions:  Prior to sampling, be sure to wear appropriate personal protective equipment. At a minimum, the sampler should wear powder-free latex or nitrile gloves. To reduce the potential for cross-contamination it is recommended that gloves be changed or cleaned with an alcohol wipe for each sample.

Sampling Procedure:

  1. Label a sample container and a small Ziploc bag with a unique Sample ID. Use an indelible, waterproof pen or permanent marker for labeling.
  2. Select a swab for sampling. Remove and discard the exterior packaging. Prior to removing the swab from the tube, make sure the tip of the swab is moist by squeezing the sponge located at the base of the tube (swab must be moist prior to sampling).
  3. Remove the swab from the tube for sampling. The swab tube can be discarded.
  4. Select a test area of approximately 4 in². Swab the area by rubbing the swab over the surface of the test area with a constant pressure to the swab. Gently rotate the swab while swabbing.
  5. After finishing the sampling, unscrew the lid on the sample container; insert the swab into the sample container and carefully break off the tip of the swab into the liquid. Carefully screw the lid back onto the sample container and discard the remaining portion of the swab.
  6. Clean the outside of the sample container with an alcohol wipe and place the sample container into the labeled Ziploc bag and seal tightly. Make sure the Sample ID on the sample container and the Ziploc bag match.
  7. Place the collected sample into a large Ziplock bag and then seal the bag tightly (double bagging). Multiple samples may be placed into one large Ziploc bag for transport.
  8. Fill out a Chain of Custody (COC) making sure that all requested information is provide (i.e., contact/billing information, Sample ID, test requested, date sampled, etc.). Insert the COC into the pouch located on the outside of the large Ziplock bag.
  9. Ship samples by FedEx overnight to the following location:HP Environmental, Inc.
    Attn: Sample Receiving/COVID-19 
    104 Elden Street, Suite 11, Herndon, VA  20170
Our Sampling Process

Quick and easy surface testing for the presence of COVID-19 RNA.
We want to get you back to work as soon as possible.


Identify test surfaces where there may be possible COVID-19 RNA. Provide a unique label and ID  corresponding to the swab, test area, and sample container.


Select a potentially contaminated test area of approximately 4 in². Rub the swab over the test surface with constant pressure while gently rotating the swab.


Fill out a Chain of Custody (COC) form. Make sure all requested information is provided and any unique IDs on swabs and containers match the COC.


Send us the swab samples and all corresponding documentation by FedEx overnight to our offices. We will issue your verified test results as quickly as possible.

Interested COVID-19 surface testing? Get in touch with us today!

Back To Top