COVID-19 Testing in Boston


With COVID-19 continuing to cause distress worldwide, many Boston residents are wondering if, how, and where they should be tested for Coronavirus. With these questions at the top of people's minds, let's explore your testing options.


If you are required to have a COVID-19 test or feel you be sick with the virus, the city of Boston has partnered with hospitals, pharmacies, and health centers throughout the city to provide testing options for local residents. Keep in mind that although testing is open to everyone, supplies are limited and health experts are asking that only those with symptoms and that need to take the test for a surgical procedure or something else should go to a testing site. Additionally, if you are having symptoms of COVID-19, it is best to call your healthcare provider who can assess your symptoms and make a recommendation as to whether or not you should be tested. Also, it is important to self-isolate if you begin to show symptoms until you have been cleared by a medical professional.


The most common type of test is a nasal swab where a nurse or healthcare worker will insert a long cotton swab into your nose (or throat depending on the test) and hold it there for upwards of 30 seconds. Typically, test results are available within 24 to 48 hours but those times can vary. Consequently, if you are being mandated to have a test done in advance of a surgery or another medical procedure it is recommended to go at least three days in advance to a testing facility. Rapid testing, with results available in 15 minutes or less, is available in Massachusetts but is only being used at a small number of locations and is experiencing limited supply.


Testing locations can be found on the Boston Public Health Commission website with locations throughout the city.  Testing is free regardless of citizenship status and insurance. Given that some sites require an appointment, it is recommended that you call ahead before arrival and be prepared for long wait times. 

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