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    Newborn Screening Unit
    PO Box 149347, MC-1918
    Austin, Texas 78714-9347

    Phone: 512-776-3957
    Fax: 512-776-7450
    Toll-free: 800-252-8023, ext. 3957


COVID-19 and Newborn Screening

Frequently Asked Questions

Has DSHS altered guidance for collection of newborn screens?

No. The 1st newborn screen should be collected between 24 - 48 hours of age, or before hospital discharge. The 2nd newborn screen should be collected on every infant at 1-2 weeks of age.

DSHS recognizes that healthcare providers may require adjustments to newborn screening protocols. 

Completely and accurately fill out all information requested on the collection kits.

Incomplete or inaccurate demographic information can result in specimen rejection, incorrect results, or delay in initiation of follow-up on out of range results.

Ensure parent contact information (phone number and address) is current.

Advise parent to select a pediatrician and attempt to make the first appointment prior to leaving the hospital. Enter pediatrician contact information on the collection kit.


What if a parent is requesting early discharge to socially isolate themselves and their newborn?

Collect the first screen immediately prior to discharge.


For 2nd screens, what if our facility is unable to provide a location to collect the specimen?

If necessary, explore the availability of other collection locations such as an outpatient clinic or reference laboratory.  If no alternative can be identified, ensure a screen is collected as soon as can be safely scheduled.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends pediatricians continue to see newborns and infants for preventive care. AAP CoVID-19 guidance includes:

  • Delaying care for newborns and other vulnerable children during this time could have devastating consequences for their health.
  • Be flexible to determine the best way to schedule patient visits to minimize the risk, including spacing out visits, modifying clinical space, or rescheduling visits for older children until a later date.
  • Pediatricians may choose to limit well visits to early morning while reserving the remainder of the day for sick visits.
  • Pediatricians are encouraged to dedicate specific rooms for sick visits and well visits; or for those with multiple practice sites to consider using one office location to see all well visits (staffed by those in higher risk categories).


What if a 2nd screen cannot be collected in the recommended timeframe of 7-14 days of age?

Collect the 2nd screen as soon as conditions allow. This ensures the earliest possible interventions for affected babies.  DSHS does not reject specimens collected on older children, but NBS testing methodologies have been designed to minimize the number of false negative and false positive results in newborns and young infants.


What if the 1st screen was out of range or unsatisfactory?

It is imperative to ensure that another screen is collected for newborns with an out of range or unsatisfactory 1st screen. Having an unsatisfactory screen is like not being screened at all. In some situations, newborns with out of range first screens may not require diagnostic evaluation if a second screen is normal.


What if the parent refuses the 2nd screen?

Parents can only refuse to have their child screened if the screening conflicts with a parent’s religious tenets or practices (see Texas Health & Safety Code Sec. 33.012). To refuse, a parent must sign a form stating he/she has a religious objection to newborn screening. Points to consider before refusing a second newborn screening:

  • DSHS has implemented a two-screen system to maximize the effectiveness of testing for all disorders on the Texas Newborn Screening Panel.
  • The second screen routinely detects babies at risk for severe medical complications. These babies sometimes have a normal first screen.
  • Some disorders (like cystic fibrosis) rely upon both newborn screens to reduce the number of babies who would otherwise require additional testing with a specialist to determine whether they have the condition or not.


Our facility has new staff assisting with specimen collection and out of range result follow-up coordination. What resources are available for quality assurance?

Healthcare provider guidance on specimen collection, transport and result reporting can be found at: dshs.texas.gov/lab/nbsHCRes.shtm  

Please completely and accurately fill out all information requested on the collection kits. Incomplete or inaccurate demographic information can result in specimen rejection, incorrect results, or delay in initiation of follow-up on out of range results.




Corona Virus in Texas:



Newborn Screening Laboratory:

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or 512-776-7333



Clinical Care Coordination:

1-888-963-7111 ext. 3957 or 512-776-3957


Last updated March 8, 2021