During the COVID-19 crisis it is crucial that blood spot samples be collected in the same timely manner as usual. To optimize valid and complete results collection must be between 24-48 hours of life. Samples collected prior to 24 hours of age will be incomplete and require a repeat sample collected as soon as possible. Arranging for a newborn to return to a facility, clinic, or an outpatient lab may prove difficult in the current situation.  Please ensure that the blood spot screen is collected prior to discharge. Communication of results and follow-up for abnormal results will remain the same.




The newborn blood spot screen should be collected between 24 and 48 hours of age. A small sample of blood is collected from the baby’s heel and placed on a special filter paper. The filter paper, or blood spot card, is then sent to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ State Public Health Laboratory (SPHL) for testing. After the SPHL has completed testing, results are sent to the facility or midwife that submitted the blood spot card as well as the baby’s primary care provider. At this point, one of three things will happen. The results will be normal, the baby will need to have the screen repeated, or the baby will require further testing to rule out a disorder.

Babies who appear healthy and come from healthy families can still have serious medical conditions. Newborn screening helps health professionals identify and treat conditions before they can cause serious health problems, disability, or even death. Most babies identified through newborn screening are treated early and grow up healthy. For a list of all the disorders that can be detected through Missouri’s newborn blood spot screening click here.