How to Get Tested for COVID-19 at Nantucket Cottage Hospital

How to Get Tested for COVID-19 on Nantucket 

Last updated January 3, 2022

COVID-19 Testing for Symptomatic Patients and Close Contacts*

Patients of any age or vaccination status with one or more symptoms of COVID-19, as well as close contacts of confirmed positive cases, can schedule a COVID-19 test by calling (508) 825-1000 Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., tests on Saturday should be scheduled during the Monday – Friday business hours, and the testing center is closed on Sundays. The costs of these medically-necessary COVID-19 tests are completely covered whether you have insurance or not. The criteria to be tested include at least one of the following signs or symptoms consistent with a viral respiratory syndrome:

  • Subjective/documented fever
  • New sore throat
  • New cough
  • New runny nose/nasal congestion
  • New shortness of breath
  • New muscle aches or
  • Anosmia (new loss of sense of smell or taste)
  • Atypical symptoms concerning for COVID-19 (e.g. COVID toes)

*The CDC recommends that vaccinated individuals who have been in contact with a positive COVID-19 individual should seek testing regardless of if they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. A close contact is defined as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. Individual exposures added together over a 24-hour period (e.g. three 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes).

Before you can be tested you must be registered with Mass General Brigham (formerly Partners HealthCare) by calling (866) 211-6588. If you have received care at Nantucket Cottage Hospital in the past you are already registered, however, it is a good idea to confirm and update your information by calling the number above. Hours of operation to call and register: 7:30 a.m.  – 6 p.m. Mon-Thurs; and 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Fridays.

Patients who meet criteria will receive a PCR COVID-19 test which may determine if an individual has the virus at the time of the test. A swab is obtained from the individual to test for the presence of the virus. The test does not determine whether the individual may have had the virus in the past or has contracted it in the days immediately preceding the test. This is not an antibody test. Results can be expected within 24 to 48 hours.

COVID-19 Testing for Asymptomatic Patients (no symptoms)

  • Testing for asymptomatic patients (no symptoms) is by appointment only. Appointments are available Monday through Saturday. Appointments must be scheduled 1 day in advance and are available up to 6 days in advance. View and schedule an appointment for elective testing by clicking here.


  • Open to all asymptomatic individuals seeking COVID-19 testing
  • Testing is not restricted to residents of the cities and towns where sites are located
  • You don’t need to have any symptom(s)
  • No cost to you
  • You do not need to have had close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual
  • Up to 75 free tests per day

Requirements for Stop the Spread testing:

  1. Must be registered with Mass General Brigham. Before you can be tested for COVID-19 through the Stop the Spread program at NCH, you must be registered with Mass General Brigham (formerly Partners Healthcare) by calling (866) 211-6588. If you have received care at Nantucket Cottage Hospital in the past you are already registered, however, it is a good idea to confirm and update your information by calling the number above. Hours of operation to call and register: 7:30 a.m.  – 6 p.m. Mon-Thurs; and 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Fridays.
  2. Must sign-up for the Patient Gateway. To receive your testing results, you must be signed-up for the Mass General Brigham Patient Gateway. To sign up, click the link sent to your personal email address after registering with Mass General Brigham or download the Mass General Brigham Patient Gateway APP at the Apple App Store or Google Play. Also see step-by-step instructions to sign-up here.
  3. Minors: Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who can give consent to be tested.
  4. Testing for Families: Every member of a family who needs to be tested must have their own appointment scheduled.

COVID-19 Testing for Pre-Procedural Patients

Patients who are required to be tested for COVID-19 prior to a surgery, procedure, or other medical appointment at Nantucket Cottage Hospital will have their COVID-19 test scheduled by our pre-operative department. Please contact your care team.

Antibody Testing

Nantucket Cottage Hospital is offering COVID-19 antibody testing with a physician order if there is a medical need. Antibody testing is not being offered on-demand. We know patients are curious about whether they may have previously been exposed to the virus, however, antibody testing does not give patients any definitive information regarding immunity or the potential for reinfection. In the absence of symptoms, antibody testing has no role in clinical management at this time. Additionally, the CDC states that in populations with low prevalence, antibody testing can be inaccurate up to 50% of the time. So at this point, outpatient antibody testing is being done elsewhere, in most cases, for the sake of curiosity with little or no medical value. Because in most cases it is not considered medically necessary, it’s also not clear whether insurance carriers will cover the cost of testing.


General News

6 / 16 / 2020 by


It say’s the cost is covered in your message on your website, but there are patients in the community saying that they got billed $130.00 to $150.00. Also, an internal NCH memo also indicates $150.00 is the cost too? Can you please clarify?

Hi Beth – for patients who are symptomatic, the costs should be covered regardless of insurance coverage. For those who are asymptomatic and sought out a testing appointment, the self-pay option is $150 per test if they do not qualify for grant funding from the town (which has been set aside for those who are considered a high public health priority for testing).

Does “any individual based on nantucket” include nonresidents/visitors?
Also, can you tell me what test you are using: nasopharyngeal, nasal cavity, or spit test?

Hi Beth – yes that includes anyone on the island, resident, non-resident, visitor, worker, etc. Our staff is using the nasopharyngeal swabs for COVID-19 tests.

I completed all steps for asymptomatic tests for my family last Tuesday, July 7 and still haven’t heard from the hospital to schedule a test. What is the usual wait time for getting an appointment? Thank you!

Hi Carrie – let us know if you have not received a call to schedule by the end of the day today. Sorry for the delay, we have been getting a heavy volume of appointment requests.

Hi Kelly – if you have symptoms, you do not need an appointment but you will need to be registered with Mass General Brigham ahead of time, which you can do by calling 866-211-6588. If you do not have symptoms, you do need an appointment, and must start by filling out the online form linked from this page.

I am a patient at Mass General already – is that enough? Or do I need to register for something special?

Yes that is enough if you have one or more symptoms. If you already have a medical record number from MGH, then just show up at the drive-through between 7 a.m. and 12 p.m. or 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the weekends.

If you do not have symptoms, you need to schedule an appointment by filling out the online form above.

My daughter Madeline Schiller needs to have covid testing on tuesday 7/21 for a procedure she is having at MGH on Thursday 7/23.

Hi Sally – for pre-procedural testing for patients travelling to other facilities for their procedure, patients may arrive at the NCH testing site without an appointment and proceed to Lane 1. Please inform the testing staff of your situation and provide information regarding your scheduled procedure. The hours of operation on July 21 are 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Hello Heidi. We are not offering take home tests at NCH at this time. Our testing is done through a swab collected at the drive-through site, or inside the hospital for admitted patients we have in-house testing capability.

Jason – I am starting the BU lab for testing students and faculty. I have a question you may be able to help me answer. Could I give you a call? I live here on Nantucket just near the windmill.

How does a symptomatic person get tested at the testing
center if they don’t have their own transportation?

Hi Elizabeth – we have had patients arrive at the drive-through on foot, on bicycle, moped, etc. There is no requirement that the individual be in a car.

I was just wondering if you have an estimate for how long it might take to get the results back?

We are traveling to Nantucket later in August. With the new travel guidelines I would expect the demand for tests to go up a lot. Is there a way to register with Mass General Brigham online rather than by phone? What do you anticipate that to do to the turn around time?

I have plans to arrive in Nantucket to visit my son, a year round ‘Sconset resident, in the end of September. My home is in Pennsylvania. In light of the Governor’s recent quarantine order, can I schedule an appointment to be tested as soon as I arrive even though I am asymptomatic? Will the cost be $150?

Hi Isaiah – we have been getting a turnaround time, generally, of 24 to 48 hours. In some cases in recent weeks, a backlog at the labs we use has pushed some turnaround times slightly beyond that.

Hi Beth – yes, you can apply for a testing appointment and when the scheduler calls you, let them know the date you would like to be tested. Please use the link to the online application form on this page.

Hi Mary – to register with Mass General Brigham you must call, there is no online option. Once you are tested, the turnaround time has generally been 24-48 hours.

Is it possible to schedule an asymptomatic test for a few weeks out? Or when you sign up for asymptomatic testing do you need to come in as soon as the test becomes available?

Hi Zoe. Yes it is possible to schedule an asymptomatic testing appointment a few weeks out. Just go through the steps outlined by clicking on the link on this page. After completing the steps, when the scheduler calls just tell them what date you would like.

Hi Jason, we are coming to visit Nantucket and traveling on to Maine thereafter. Maine requires a covid PCR test done 72 hours before arrival for visitors from Mass. For us that would mean a sample would need to be taken specifically on the date 8/6 with results back by am of 8/9. Is that possible? If not I can find a way to get tests to fedex off island perhaps. Thank you for your help

Hi Callie – if you initiate the process as soon as possible by completing the form linked from this page, then yes, this seems doable. We cannot guarantee the turnaround time as we are utilizing laboratories that are processing samples from around the state, but generally, yes the turnaround time has been 24 to 48 hours.

Hello, we need to schedule our appointment for this Thursday and haven’t heard from the scheduler yet. Is there someone we can call or email? Appreciate your help with this.

Hi Kara. It looks like from our records you completed the online form over the weekend. As stated in the form and in the reply e-mail you received, it may take several days to be scheduled as our volume is extremely high right now. They will reach out to you to schedule your testing appointment as soon as possible.

Hi Jason,

What’s the current turn around from sign up to getting the asymptomatic test? My daughter is being required to be tested by her employer after going to MV for the day. Thanks!

My son, Thomas Meade, received a call yesterday to schedule his asymptomatic test appointment, but he did not have payment information and was told to call back. I have left two voice mails on the number he was given but the message only gives a person’s name and does not identify her as part of NCH so I am not sure we have the correct number. Can someone please return my call at 914-346-7595 so his test can be scheduled. Thank you .

Thank you for the quick reply! We were tested and it was a very smooth process. My husband and I received our negative results within 30 hours. We are still waiting for our children’s test results (under 18). Do results get delivers over the weekend too? Thank you again!

are test results posted to the patient portal. We need a printed document for my son’s school? Thsnks

Hi Amanda – once tested, the turnaround time is 24 to 48 hours for results. There is some lag time from the point of requesting the asymptomatic test through the online form and getting scheduled, so I would encourage you to fill out the form and the other steps as soon as possible.

Hi Jason – we filled out the online form on Friday. I should have been clearer, my question is when can I expect to hear from the hospital about a test date?Thank you.

Hi – I did all three steps to get a Covid test on Island – how long before I receive a call (or email?) to schedule my appointment?

Hi Liza. Did you receive a confirmation e-mail stating we had received your request for a testing appointment?

yes – it read: “Your registration form has been received and your name has been added to our wait list. It may take several days for this form to be processed, after which you will receive a call from Nantucket Cottage Hospital to schedule your test. In the interim, please do not call the hospital to inquire about your application or scheduling.

Remember that you will not be scheduled for a test unless you have completed the final two steps:

· Register with Mass General Brigham (formerly Partners Healthcare) at 866-211-6588. If you have received care at Nantucket Cottage Hospital you are already registered but it is a good idea to confirm and update your information by calling the number above.

· Sign-up for the Partners Mass General Brigham Patient Gateway or by opening the link sent to your personal email address. You may also download the Partners Mass General Brigham Patient Gateway APP at the Apple App store or Google Play.”

And I have completed the next two steps

Yes I did an I followed the two steps – wondering how long it might be before I get an appointment? “Your registration form has been received and your name has been added to our wait list. It may take several days for this form to be processed, after which you will receive a call from Nantucket Cottage Hospital to schedule your test. In the interim, please do not call the hospital to inquire about your application or scheduling.

Remember that you will not be scheduled for a test unless you have completed the final two steps:

· Register with Mass General Brigham (formerly Partners Healthcare) at 866-211-6588. If you have received care at Nantucket Cottage Hospital you are already registered but it is a good idea to confirm and update your information by calling the number above.

· Sign-up for the Partners Mass General Brigham Patient Gateway or by opening the link sent to your personal email address. You may also download the Partners Mass General Brigham Patient Gateway APP at the Apple App store or Google Play.”

Hello! I signed up for asymptomatic testing on July 30th and received a confirmation email that day, but still haven’t heard about scheduling my appointment. Completely understand there’s a long wait list right now, just wanted to make sure that it’s normal to still not have heard yet? Is there any idea when approximately I’ll be able to schedule my appointment?

Hi I need to get tested before I see my 70 year old mom. Either on the 18th or the 19th. I registered with the online form but haven’t received a call back yet. Thank you!

Hi Anna – you should have received an automatic reply upon completion of the online form that asks you to please allow for several days for NCH to process the form and have a scheduler get in touch with you. You will be contacted as soon as possible.

Hi Pamela – Nantucket Cottage Hospital follows Mass General Brigham criteria for testing. For symptomatic patients, the criteria is: At least one of the following signs or symptoms consistent with a viral respiratory syndrome:
•Subjective/documented fever,
•New sore throat,
•New cough,
•New runny nose/nasal congestion,
•New shortness of breath,
•New muscle aches, or
•New anosmia
•New loss of smell or taste
•Atypical symptoms concerning for COVID-19 (e.g. COVID toes)

This is the same testing criteria as Mass General, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and all the other MGB hospitals. I understand that the CDC has listed vomiting and diarrhea as potential symptoms of COVID-19. We did not write this policy so I’m unsure why they are not included, but this is the policy we follow.

My husband and I have a test scheduled for when we arrive on island on Sept 5 at 9 am, but due to a change in the ferry we are taking, we will be a bit later than that. I have tried to reach someone to reschedule, but have had no luck. Can we just go when we arrive, even if it is a little bit later than our scheduled time?

Why the three step process, which seems like it will creates delay and discourage some people from getting tested?
Case in point, I just called the Mass General number and they are closed for the weekend.

Hi Paul. Part of this process is to allow the Town to review asymptomatic testing requests to see if they would be covered by the town grant for a free test. This is a process (for asymptomatic covid testing) we had to establish essentially from scratch for patients who experiencing no symptoms but need/want to receive a non-medically necessary test. Anyone receiving services at NCH has to be registered with a medical record number and we have set it up so this high volume of patients can receive results through the Patient Gateway rather than have a provider call them back individually with negative test results (positive test results do receive a call of course). We will continue to refine the process and hopefully make it smoother for patients as we go and learn more.

Hello—my 10 year old daughter requires a test for her school this fall. I understand that many schools are now using a less-invasive nasal swab testing procedure and wanted to see if that is available through NCH for children, either drive through or in the hospital or a clinic? Thank you!

Hi Stephanie – we are close (awaiting emergency use authorization) to being able to implement a less invasive nasal swab that would just collect specimens from the front of the nostril that will be much better for children. Unfortunately I can’t give you an exact date of when this will be available but it should be soon. I can only speak to what is available through the NCH drive-through testing site, but I know there are other options available elsewhere with differing techniques and sensitivity.

Hi, we made online application for the PCR testing but it is for Asymptomatic. We just want to have PCR test for my traveling. Ive never been expose to positive.

I took the test, Logistics question, where does the receipt for the $150 come from so that I can claim it from my insurance company?

Hi Jason,
I am having trouble getting receipts on the patient gateway and have reached out. Any other suggestions?

Hi Jean – yes you can have them print or take a screenshot of their test results from the Patient Gateway.

Hi Jason, who falls under the category of “a high public priority?” I am a diabetic and my parents are 75. Would we be charged $150 and need to make appointment if not showing symptoms?

Hi Mary – this is determined by the Town of Nantucket Health Department. Typically, these are people who are in high traffic work situations with a large number of interactions with the public, making them at higher risk for transmission. However, as I said, this is determined by the Town of Nantucket Health Department. You can apply by completing the online form linked from this page.

Hi Nantucket Cottage Hospital,
I am a captain on a private yacht at the Boat Basin.
I have a client (76yrsold) coming to the boat on the 27th of September he would like all the crew PCR covid 19 tested.
I have a total of nine crew.
Is this possible in Nantucket at the Cottage Hospital..
Thank you for the assistance

Stay Safe Stay Healthy be Wise.

Kind Regards,

Captain Scott Miller.
m/y Far From IT

tel # 9548066068

Hi- I need a COVID PCR test on Oct. 10, for travel three days later. I’m told the asymptomatic test results normally take four days. Is there a way I can ensure my results will be available sooner? Thank you.

Once you are tested the turnaround time is closer to 24 hours, not four days. Please use the online form to request your appointment as early as possible.

Hi – Last week I requested an appointment for an asymptomatic test. (I have upcoming travel that requires a PCR test within a specific timeframe relative to travel.) Does the new “Stop the Spread” campaign mean I no longer need an appointment? Is “Stop the Spread” a PCR test? Do you expect turnaround times to increase from the recently quoted 24 hours? Thanks, C

Hi Christine – that is correct. You no longer need an appointment to be tested on the date you need, just make sure you arrive early on the day you need to be tested to ensure you’re able to get one of the daily 75 free asymptomatic tests. It is a PCR test. We have no reason to believe response times will change (currently 24 to 48 hours) but we cannot guarantee response times in the future.

Thank you, Jason. Will tests be processed off island? Will tests be processed over the weekend? I need results by 2pm Sat 10/24, but the sample needs to have been collected within 72 hours of that time. So, I could go late Wed, but run the risk of running out of tests, or go early Thurs morning. But if go early Thurs morning, do I run the risk of running into the weekend and missing my Saturday deadline? Thanks so much.

Yes the test will be resulted at the Broad Institute at MIT. They do process over the weekend. If this is related to a required COVID-19 test for a medical procedure or surgery, it is not through Stop the Spread. You can go to Lane 1 from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday without an appointment.

Hello, I was experiencing potential symptoms of COVID-19, including loss of taste, and came for a drive-through test on October 5. I have just received a bill for this test. Why am I being billed when your website clearly states patients with potential symptoms will be tested for free? I am less likely to get tested if I have symptoms again for fear of being charged hundreds of dollars each time I try to be a responsible citizen.

Hey! I have a travel scheduled on Nov 1 so I was wondering if I were to get a check up on Oct 29, would I be able to access my results before my flight? Could you also let me know where can I access these results?

Hello – do you mean COVID tests results or a summary of a medical appointment visit? In both cases, probably yes the timeframe you mentioned would allow you to get results. COVID-19 test result turnaround time is generally 24-48 hours. The Patient Gateway is where you would access the results:

Hello. Please contact our Financial Counselor at 508-825-8373 for questions regarding your bill.

Hello Jason, Can kids get tested too through the asymptomatic testing program? What age range?

Hi Mike – yes kids can get tested through Stop the Spread asymptomatic testing. Any age.

My husband and I are on the island on November 15. We’re coming to visit our Son and daughter-in-law who just had a baby. We’re from North Carolina. We wanted to stop by on Monday morning ASAP to get a test. We are not symptomatic in anyway. We’ve also filled out the travel forms that Massachusetts requires when you’re coming from out of state. Do we still need to fill out form for a test and be part of the Mass General system?

Hi Lisa – please proceed to lane 2 at the hospital drive-through, Monday to Friday, starting at 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. You do not need to fill out a form but you do need to be registered with Mass General Brigham.

Hi I have Question I went take the test on wednesday, I did no have simptoms I just need it for travel but I did no receive the results and I need it for tomorrow morning what I can do I hope you can answer my question thanks

Hello. There is currently a slight delay due to a backlog at the Broad Institute laboratory which processes our specimens. You should have the results within 72 hours.

travelers from high risk states to Mass. have to take the FDA EUA approved molecular (PCR) SARS COV2 test. The antibody test is not accepted

My 2 daughters and I were tested at 9am yesterday (Tuesday). I received one daughter’s results early this morning, but still have not received mine or my other daughter’s. Should I worry that those tests are missing or something? Or are they likely in a later batch (even though our tests were minutes apart)? Thanks.

How is the number of tests available through the through the Stop the Spread program determined? I am concerned about the limited amount of asymptomatic testing being done on island I tried to be tested following return from travel. With no symptoms and no known exposure, I went to the VFW site three times, arriving at least an hour before the posted opening hour. All three times, I was turned away. The site was already closed due to having reached the 75 test capacity. Clearly people feel the need to be tested.

A recent study found “up to 59% of all disease transmission came from asymptomatic people, with 35% from those who later developed symptoms and 24% from those who never did, according to the researchers.” Given the escalating positivity rate on island, I feel increasing availability of asymptomatic testing is important. Thank you

Hi Kay – the number of free asymptomatic COVID-19 tests available is determined by the state, through its Stop the Spread program. The state has set a limit of 75 free tests per day. Because people chose to travel around the holidays, there was significant volume before and after Thanksgiving and Christmas, and some people unfortunately were not able to get a free asymptomatic test during those brief periods. Over the past week, volumes have returned to pre-Thanksgiving levels, and we have not hit the limit of 75 tests per day.

Aloha! Is NCH and Mass Gen in Covid testing approved partnership for the State of Hawaii? We are traveling to Nantucket from Hawaii in Sep to visit family and in order to bypass the 10 quarantine upon our return home we would need to be tested 72 hours pre flight from an approved testing site even though we took the Phizer shots.

Hello! I noticed the asymptomatic testing has moved to 10:00 AM. In the past, I’ve arrived up to an hour early to get in line, but since symptomatic testing goes until 10:00 AM, I don’t know if there will be a separate line started for asymptomatic testing prior to 10:00 AM. Is it possible to get in line prior to 10:00 AM?

Hi Laura – we just now announced that starting Wednesday, 4/28, elective testing for asymptomatic patients, will be by appointment only. 75 appointments are available per day, Monday through Saturday. Appointments must be scheduled 2 days in advance and are available up to 8 days in advance. This should help alleviate waiting in line like you mentioned. Read more here:

Hello! I need to take a PCR test before travelling to Amsterdam and the requirement states that I need to show a COVID-19 Test Certificate. Do you guys issue such certificates since I don’t think that showing/printing out the test results information from the Patient Gateway website would count as a certificate?

Hi Melinda – we do not issue certificates, only print out results via the Patient Gateway. Thank you,

Hi, what is the current turn around time for asymptomatic results? I need to prove my results on a Tuesday 3:00 pm CST, so the Saturday appointment is too early for me and I am nervous if I test on Monday morning I won’t have the results on time. Thank you!

Hi Olivia – We typically get results by the next morning but unfortunately we cannot guarantee it. Weather or issues at the Boston lab can affect timing. ACK Dental Arts is offering testing with same day results. You could see what the turnaround time is there and possibly use it as a back up plan on Tuesday.

I am trying to schedule 4 tests for myself and three of my children. We are asymptomatic and need tests to fly to the UK. I seem to be only able to schedule one test. How do I schedule 4 tests together?

I have a flight out Monday morning and will need a PCR test . If I get tested on Saturday, will the results come in on the weekend or at least by Monday morning 8 am?

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