Here we present a rapid and versatile method for capturing and concentrating SARS-CoV-2 from transport medium and saliva using affinity-capture magnetic hydrogel particles. We demonstrate that the method concentrates virus prior to RNA extraction, thus significantly improving detection of the virus using a real-time RT-PCR assay across a range of viral titers, from 100 to 1,000,000 viral copies/mL; in particular, detection of virus in low viral load samples is enhanced when using the method coupled with the IDT 2019-nCoV CDC EUA Kit. This method is compatible with commercially available nucleic acid extraction kits, as well with a simple heat and detergent method. Using transport medium diagnostic remnant samples that previously had been tested for SARS-CoV-2 using either the Abbott RealTime SARS-CoV-2 EUA Test (n=14) or the Cepheid Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2 EUA Test (n=35), we demonstrate that our method not only correctly identifies all positive samples (n = 17) but also significantly improves detection of the virus in low viral load samples. The average improvement in cycle threshold (Ct) value as measured with the IDT 2019-nCoV CDC EUA Kit was 3.1; n = 10. Finally, to demonstrate that the method could potentially be used to enable pooled testing, we spiked infectious virus or a confirmed positive diagnostic remnant sample into 5 mL and 10 mL of negative transport medium and observed significant improvement in the detection of the virus from those larger sample volumes.