About COVID-19 Testing
If you have symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, testing is an important way to protect your family, friends, and community.
Who should get tested for COVID-19?
We recommend patients get tested for COVID-19 if you:
- Have symptoms of COVID-19:
- Loss of smell/taste
- Muscle aches
- Runny nose
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Have been in close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19, which means you were within six feet of them for a total of 15 minutes or more with someone:
- while they showed symptoms or within 48 hours before their symptoms began, or
- in the 48 hours before they took their test or anytime in the 10 days after their test
We welcome all patients, even those who do not have insurance. We do not ask about immigration status.
To get tested for these health reasons, contact your Mass General Brigham doctor's office or call the Mass General Brigham COVID-19 Nurse Hotline (617-724-7000, Monday–Saturday 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.).
How can I get tested?
Mass General Brigham offers COVID-19 testing. You need an appointment. Your provider's office or the COVID-19 Nurse Hotline (617-724-7000) will work with you to find the most convenient place to get tested.
What is the test like?
The test we use is the viral PCR test. It is done by swabbing your nose.
How much does the test cost?
Most of the time, tests that are done for health reasons (like symptoms or a confirmed exposure) are covered by insurance at no additional cost to you.
Some insurances will not pay for elective testing (like testing for travel or before visiting family). Please contact your insurance if you have questions. Patients will be charged $160 for an elective test not covered by insurance.
There are free community testing sites available in Massachusetts (e.g. Stop the Spread) and New Hampshire.
When should I expect my test results?
Results are usually available within 72 hours. The fastest way to see results is through the Mass General Brigham Patient Gateway portal. Once the test analysis is complete, COVID-19 results are immediately available in Patient Gateway.
Please note: Positive test results are reported to the Department of Public Health. You may get a call from your local Board of Health or the Massachusetts COVID Team.