Welcome to the COVID-19 Testing Program Guide

Thank you for partnering with PerkinElmer and Color to set up a COVID-19 testing program. This guide will cover:

  • Software that manages sample collection, return of results, result monitoring and kit ordering
  • Ordering, shipping and storing COVID-19 test kits

Site Software

In order to register people to get tested and to process their tests, you’ll use Color’s software. Below are the steps you’ll need to take to set up your account and to use the software on testing days.


On testing days your role could cover a number of areas, including registering participants, gathering samples and shipping samples to the lab. More details about those steps can be found below.


Create your Color account

Head to home.color.com/create-account. Enter your organization email, and set up a password.

We’ll send you an email to confirm your email address once you’ve created your account. After confirming, your account is ready for use. On testing days, you’ll log into our onsite tool with your Color account credentials.


Determine your testing schedule

We recommend testing on weekdays, when shipping carriers have regular pickup and drop-off times. Samples must be shipped to the lab the same day of collection.

Each site is initially provided two week’s supply of testing kits.


Get the technology you’ll need

Color’s software requires internet connectivity via WiFi or cellular service. Please note, you can find instructions on our backup paper intake process in Troubleshooting under “Lost internet connection?” on www.color.com/pki-support.


If you’re using WiFi-only devices like laptops or tablets, make sure you have strong and reliable WiFi coverage in your testing area.


If your WiFi isn’t reliable, we recommend using portable hotspots from a cellular network provider, like this Verizon Jetpack® MiFi® 8800L.


If you’re planning on using cellular devices, like a WiFi + Cellular iPad, be sure to select the appropriate cellular network provider that provides the best coverage for your area, like AT&T or Verizon.

Each site administrator should have their own device. We recommend three devices (and three administrators) for every 250 participants you plan to test per day. We recommend using two devices to register participants in our software and one to scan barcodes as you collect samples. 


iPads must be running iOS 13 or iOS 14. For example, the 10.2” Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad, model MYN32LL/A works well. We recommend you also download the Google Chrome iOS app.


Android tablets must be running Android version 9, 10, or 11 with the latest updates and the latest version of Google Chrome. For example, the Samsung tablets, such as the Galaxy Tab A 8.4” Cellular, work well. 


Laptops should have 1 usable USB-A port if you will be connecting a wired barcode scanner. 


We recommend using the latest version of Google Chrome on your devices.

We highly recommend using scanners to automatically capture barcodes and ensure samples are matched to the correct participants. If scanners are not functional for any reason, or if you don’t have access to scanners, you are able to input the information manually.


If you are using an iPad, we recommend using the ScanKey iOS app which enables usage of the iPad’s camera as the barcode scanner from within the virtual keyboard interface. 

  • To set up ScanKey – Go to the iPad Settings → General → Keyboards and then make sure that only the ScanKey keyboard is there. Delete any other keyboard.
  • If ScanKey does not show up in the App Store, please update your iPad to the latest software.
  • Here are instructions on how to setup ScanKey on your iPad.

If you are using a handheld scanner, the scanner must scan one-dimensional (1D) barcode labels. We recommend using wired USB scanners, because wireless or bluetooth scanners can be difficult to pair and ensure connectivity throughout the day. If you choose a wired USB scanner, you’ll need a Lightning to USB 3 Camera Adapter for iPad, or a USB OTG adapter, like Micro USB or USB-C, for an Android tablet. Adapters may vary between devices.

Be sure to maintain the battery levels of your devices throughout testing days to enable continuous usage, and consider charging overnight. iPads will require at least a 12-watt (2.4 amp) USB power adapter. If supporting multiple iPads or other USB-charged devices, we recommend using a multi-port USB charger.

Testing Days

On testing days your role could cover a number of areas, including registering participants, gathering samples and shipping samples to the lab. More details about those steps can be found below.

Registering participants

Participants can register one of three ways:

  1. Using a unique URL
    Before testing day we will send the organization lead a unique URL so participants can use it to answer questions ahead of time on their own device.
  2. Using the QR code
    We’ll send the organization lead a QR code. Print the QR code and post it at your collection site so participants can scan it using their own device and answer the registration questions.
  3. Registering onsite
    Site staff can register those who have not done so ahead of time. Use the “Add patient” link on Color and ask participants to answer the registration questions verbally during the sample collection process

We encourage you to advise participants to register using the unique URL or QR code so their profiles are saved and automatically populate as ready for check-in each testing day.

Managing participant samples

  1. Log in to Color at home.color.com/sign-in
  2. Confirm participant information
  3. Scan or type in the participant barcode
  4. Gather the participant’s collected sample
  5. Package the samples and send to the lab, using the shipping instructions in the next section. Samples must ship within 24 hours of sample collection.

Ordering, Storing, and Shipping Test Kits

As a testing site administrator, you’ll need to make sure that test kits and ship-back materials are not damaged onsite and are shipping the same day as sample collection.

Color will automatically ship your initial kit and ship-back materials. This includes two week’s supply of testing kits. After your first shipment, you’re responsible for ordering those materials via our ALOM portal. Site administrators will receive access and instructions for this tool via email. You can use our inventory template to determine how much to order.

Individual Test Kits


  1. Swab
  2. Tube 
  3. Barcode card
  4. Small sample biohazard bag

How to Store Test Kits

Unused Kits

Please store unused kits in a secure, shaded area without direct exposure to the sun or heat. The ideal storage temperature is room temperature (72-76 degrees Fahrenheit).

Collected Samples

Please store collected kits in a covered bin in a secure, shaded area without direct exposure to the sun or heat. The ideal storage temperature is room temperature (72-76 degrees Fahrenheit). Packaged kits may be deposited in outdoor drop boxes in cold outdoor temperatures.

We strongly recommend shipping collected samples to the lab within 24 hours after collection.

Please note: Kits may not be transferred to a different site or used for any purpose other than for sample collection. For safety reasons and to ensure specimen samples are not contaminated or damaged and results are accurate, unused kits may not be returned to Color once they are delivered to a collection site. Unused collection kits must be destroyed when the testing program ends. Kits have a shelf life of approximately 12 months, with specific expiration dates listed on components of the kits. Kits should be destroyed upon expiration.

Packing and Shipping Samples

Color’s batch shipping tool creates a manifest number for each lab shipment.

  1. Use the batch shipping tool to create a manifest number for your return shipment.
  2. Include that manifest number on a paper manifest form.
  3. Place the manifest form in your return shipping box.

The return shipping box will fit up to 100 test kits. Each batch includes the following:

  1. Return shipping boxes
    1. Dimensions: 12″x12″x10″ (holds 100 kits)
    2. Weight when packed: 100 test kit box = ~6 lbs
  1. Large biohazard bag 
  2. UN 3373 sticker
  3. Paper manifest
  4. Backup paper intake forms
  5. UPS shipping label
  1. Place sealed individual specimen bags into a large biohazard bag. Each shipping tool batch should have its own bag.
    1. Note: The biohazard bag should not contain more than either 100 individual kits.
  2. Write the manifest number on the outside of the bag, include the manifest(s) in the bag, and seal.
  3. Place the large biohazard bags inside the return shipping box and tape it securely closed.
  4. Write the manifest number(s) on the outside of the package.
  5. Ensure the UN 3373 sticker and return shipping label are affixed to the box if not already.

Collection sites are responsible for arranging shipping for samples to the CDPH Valencia Branch Laboratory using pre-paid UPS shipping labels. You’ll receive a return shipping box with pre-paid UPS labels along with your kit shipment. 


For more information on how to ship samples with UPS, refer to this flyer. For shipping questions, reach out to UPS Lab Customer Support at 1-844-487-7522.

How to access and use dashboards

You’ll have access to two real-time dashboards to view results:

  1. Overview Dashboard  which presents aggregate data and is meant to provide an overview of the statistics for a site or set of sites, including the number of tests, percent of tests with each type of results, and participant demographics. The overview dashboard does not include identifiable patient information.
  2. Testing Patient Dashboard which provides row-level identifiable patient information, where each row represents the results of an individual participant and includes demographics, contact information, and test results.

If you’re the organization lead, you automatically have access to the results dashboard. If you’re not the lead, please reach out to your lead to request access to Color dashboards. 


The organization lead / dashboard administrator will have access to the access management tool, which allows them to edit user access to program dashboards. For more information about this tool, visit the Color knowledge base. Please note, we limit PHI-level dashboard access to four people.

First, create an account at home.color.com/create-account. Then, log in at home.color.com/admin/covid-dashboard. It may take a few days for your dashboard access to be authorized, so check back if it’s not immediately available.