COVID-19 Testing at Nantucket Cottage Hospital

COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic patients (no symptoms)

In collaboration with the Town of Nantucket, Nantucket Cottage Hospital has expanded testing for COVID-19 to include individuals who are asymptomatic, or not experiencing any symptoms, by appointment at our drive-through evaluation site. This service is for any individual or employer based on Nantucket and is intended to enhance the island community’s COVID-19 surveillance testing capability.

Employers and individuals must complete this online application form to apply for this elective, PCR COVID-19 test. Applicants will be added to a wait list and contacted when the next testing appointment is available. The Town of Nantucket has grant funds available to cover the costs of testing for those considered to be a public health priority by the local Health Department. For all others, the cost of this elective test is $150 per person.

Please be aware that there are three steps that must be completed before individuals can be scheduled for asymptomatic testing:

  1. Complete the town’s online application form
  2. Register with Mass General Brigham, or MGB, (formerly Partners Healthcare) at 866-211-6588.
  3. Sign-up for the Partners Patient Gateway or by opening the link sent to your personal email address after you register with MGB. You may also download the Partners Patient Gateway APP at the Apple App store or Google Play.

Once you have completed these three steps, please wait to be contacted by NCH to be scheduled for a testing appointment. Do not call the hospital or the Nantucket Health Department asking for an appointment. We will contact you after all three steps have been completed.

COVID-19 testing for symptomatic patients

Patients of any age with one or more symptoms of COVID-19 should arrive without an appointment at the Nantucket Cottage Hospital drive-through evaluation site at the main entrance portico. 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)

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 hours of operation:

  • Monday to Friday: 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday to Sunday: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Antibody testing

Nantucket Cottage Hospital is only offering coronavirus 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, so we are evaluating how antibody testing could be offered more widely on the island. It is complicated because 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. Those are some of the issues we are currently evaluating as we consider how we could offer antibody testing more widely on the island in the future. For now, as stated above, antibody testing is only being offered with a physician order and is not being offered on-demand.


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.

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