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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. Home-based testing by antigen is the most convenient way to test for COVID-19.

COVID-19 testing FAQs

When and why

Home-based testing by antigen is increasingly the most convenient way to test for COVID-19. We recommend you get tested for COVID-19 if you have symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

At-home tests

You can buy home COVID-19 tests at many retail pharmacies or online. Below are some options to pick up or order COVID-19 tests:

If you use a home testing kit and test positive, you have COVID-19. You do not need a PCR test for confirmation. Please start home isolation immediately and notify your close contacts of your positive test. This guidance may change over time depending on how much COVID is in our community.

If you tested negative with a home test, follow the current guidelines related to quarantine and other testing. If you develop symptoms, you should test again. If a home antigen test is negative and you have symptoms, public health experts recommend to test yourself again with a home test after a day or so, or get a PCR test.

Testing positive

High-risk conditions for severe COVID-19 include undergoing treatment for cancer, currently taking medications for transplant, or immunosuppressant medications for other conditions. Other high-risk conditions, including having chronic lung, kidney, or liver disease; diabetes; HIV; obesity; and age 65 years or older, may predispose you to worse symptoms from COVID-19 or influenza. The CDC has more information.

If you have one or more conditions that put you at high-risk for severe COVID-19, this may make you eligible for outpatient COVID-19 therapies if you get COVID.

  • If you test positive and have mild symptoms, and have no risk factors for severe disease, stay home and isolate.

  • If you have moderate symptoms, call your doctor.

  • If you have severe symptoms, go to the emergency room.

Read more about what you should do if you test positive >

  • If you are at high risk for severe disease, then you should either contact your doctor’s office to ask about COVID-19 treatment or utilize free telehealth appointments available through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Appointments are available between 8 am and 10 pm.
  • If you live in another state, including New Hampshire, you can use the national therapeutics locator to find locations.

Updated April 28, 2023