Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19

Last updated Dec. 1, 2020

  1. What type of test is performed? Nantucket Cottage Hospital works with a laboratory that performs a PCR test, which tests for active infections only. We do not administer outpatient antibody tests, which indicate a past infection, at our drive-through testing site. Antibody tests are only available with a physician order if there is a medical need.
  2. How is my sample for testing collected? While you remain in the vehicle, you will be swabbed by an NCH staff member to collect a sample of nasal secretions. This is done by inserting the swab into your nostril approximately 1 inch into the nasal passage (midway) with the most visible drainage or the nostril that is most congested if drainage is not present. The swab is rotated several times, removed gently and this process is repeated on the other side.
  3. How and when will I get results? Results for COVID-19 testing are generally returned within 24 to 48 hours of specimen collection at NCH. When your results are ready, you will receive a notification which can be reviewed in the Patient Gateway. If your test result is positive you will receive a call from the infection preventionist at NCH between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to discuss next steps and review any questions you might have regarding treatment, isolation and quarantine for those who may have been exposed. Please do not hesitate to seek treatment prior to receiving a call if necessary and be aware that the results are returned from the lab at all different times of day so there is no specific timeframe in which it will be received by you through the Gateway. The number of positive test results received each day may also impact the timeliness of call backs.
  4. What is the Patient Gateway? The Mass General Brigham (MGB) Patient Gateway is a medical records system that used by hospitals and clinics in the MGB system, including Nantucket Cottage Hospital. It can be used for secure messaging between patients and providers, managing insurance and billing, and keeping track of your patient history. If you do not currently have access to the Gateway, please sign up by clicking here. For those who are unable to access the Gateway, please utilize the following: Medical Records/Release of Information Contact Information; Phone: 617-726-2361; Fax: 617-726-3661. Complete the ROI Authorization Form for e-mail requests and send to:
  5. How old can a patient be to get a COVID-19 test? There is currently no age limit. A parent or legal guardian must complete this registration for all minor patients. Patients under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, who must provide consent to be tested and may need to assist with sample collection using the swab. For minor patients between the ages of 13 to 17, parents or guardians may receive testing results by e-mailing NCHHIM@partnershealthcare.onmicrosoft.comor by faxing a request to 508-825-8326. For children 12 years old and younger, test results are available through the Patient Gateway.
  6. Is there an out-of-pocket cost? Generally no. Stop the Spread testing for individuals without symptoms is currently free of charge. Most insurance carriers cover the cost of COVID-19 testing for patients with symptoms or those who have been in close contact with a known COVID-19 positive individual. While the costs of these medically necessary COVID-19 tests for individuals who are symptomatic are usually covered, NCH providers will conduct an evaluation and if additional services are necessary (for example other diagnostic tests besides COVID-19) they will be billed to your insurance. We encourage patients to check with their health plan regarding deductibles and cost sharing before arriving for a test.  If you have health insurance, please bring your card with you to the test site. If you do not have insurance, we will ask you for your Social Security number (card not needed), driver’s license or state ID to submit the cost of your test to the federal program for the uninsured. Please contact the Member Services Department of your health insurance plan to verify your coverage and financial responsibility if you receive a bill for services described on this page. This phone number is usually located on your insurance card. If your insurance company does not answer all your questions, please contact Mass General Brigham Patient Billing Solutions at: Phone: 617-726-3884 Monday–Friday, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Email:
  7. I don’t drive. Can I walk in? Yes, we currently offer walk-up testing at the NCH drive-through for patients who don’t drive. And please remember, when you arrive for testing, you must wear a face covering for the safety of all patients and providers; please only remove it when instructed to do so by a provider.
  8. Do I need an appointment? No, not currently. Please see the hours of operation for Stop the Spread testing and testing for individuals with symptoms or close contacts.
  9. Do I need a referral from a medical professional? Referrals are not required.
  10. Can I schedule an asymptomatic COVID-19 test in advance? Not at this time. With the Stop the Spread program, we are offering free asymptomatic testing on a first-come, first-served basis, with a maximum of 75 tests per day which are funded by the state.
  11. What do I need to bring with me? Insurance card and proof of identity are required. Please ensure you are registered with Mass General Brigham and signed-up for the Patient Gateway. Be sure to have your mobile phone in case we need to reach you.

We are currently experiencing significant demand for testing. Please be aware that the line for vehicles will be closed when it reaches a volume that we estimate would allow staff to test all those who are waiting and still close the testing site at the scheduled time. Severe weather events will impact our ability to operate the drive-through testing site. Please check this website and our social media pages for updates on closures due to weather.

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