About COVID-19 Testing

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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:
    • Cough
    • Fever
    • 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 

Please note if you are exposed, you may not need to quarantine if you are fully vaccinated. Check with your local public health authorities if you have questions. 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.

How can I get tested?

Mass General Brigham offers COVID-19 testing. Most of our locations require an appointment. Your provider's office 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 COVID-19 tests are covered by insurance, at no additional cost to you. This includes tests that are done for health reasons (like symptoms or a confirmed exposure) and those that are elective (like testing for travel or before visiting family). 

Please contact your health insurance plan/provider if you have questions.  

There are also free community testing sites available in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

When should I expect my test results?

Expect results in 24–48 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.  

More information

To learn more about COVID-19 testing, you can visit the following:

Updated October 20, 2021