Recently, a majority of calls coming into our triage have been about where to get COVID-19 testing, mainly for asymptomatic patients. There is an increase in demand for testing with so many camps, daycare, and colleges resuming a modified schedule. Below we have compiled some Frequently Asked Questions (and answers!) we are receiving in an effort to save you a phone call and to provide you with some reference material.
“Where can I get tested for COVID-19?”
New testing locations are popping up frequently across the state with various criteria in terms of ages, access, and hours. Please use this map below which is updated frequently through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. At this time many Partners Locations such as Newton Wellesley Hospital are experiencing difficulties accepting orders from our office. Please use these locations only if you are unable to find another testing site close to you.
“My child requires a COVID-19 test to return to Camp, Day Care, College, etc. What do I do?”
Many of these programs are currently requiring a negative COVID-19 test (in a specified time frame) before being able to participate. First, check with your organization on what this time-frame is, and what the requirements are for presenting the test results. Use the reference map above to find a site that is convenient for you, and offers testing for your child’s age. Our triage nurses reference this same database and we do not have a list of any additional sites that are not listed on this map. For many of these locations, self-scheduling and walk-in services are offered. Always call the listed number before showing up, and verify their hours, ages, and procedure. Things change rapidly, and what might be true today for a testing site may not be true tomorrow.
“Do I need an order for COVID-19 Testing?”
Often times, you do not require a doctor’s order to be tested for COVID-19. Please call your testing site of choice FIRST to check what they will require. If they need an order in advance, please call our office to have one sent over. If they do not require an order, you do not need to call our office.
“What is the current turn around time for COVID-19 tests?”
While planning to get a COVID-19 test (whether for asymptomatic or symptomatic testing), we are often asked what the current turn around time is for results. This varies day by day, week by week, and site by site. Depending on which lab the testing facility uses and the type of test used, results will vary without notice. Just a month ago we were seeing results as soon as 48 hours, those same sites are now seeing 7-10 day turn around time (due to a nationwide spike in testing). Our triage nurses cannot predict turn around time at the many sites across the state, and the best prediction will come from the staff at the site itself.
When planning to obtain test results within a certain time frame for admission to a program, it is best to call the site to get a rough estimate from their staff. Although it may not be 100% accurate, they can at least quote you the current time and give you a clearer picture of what to expect.
“I already received a COVID-19 test, where are my results?”
Although we use the EPIC medical record system, that does not mean that your test results will populate in our system for review. Most COVID-19 tests are being resulted directly to a proprietary patient portal which our staff does not have access to. When you are tested for COVID-19, please ask the staff how you will obtain your results, and if there is any portal or website you need to check. Each site varies, and you should not leave the testing site until it is clear how you will hear back from them.
“I (a parent/caregiver) would like to be tested for COVID-19 so I can visit/care for a family member.”
Although testing is easier to access now than it was months ago, we still do not recommend that a negative test replace wearing a mask and social distancing. We often hear of grandparents wanting to get a test so they can visit their grandchildren, or other similar situations. With the current turn around times it is unrealistic to think that a negative test from 7-10 days ago means you are still negative today. A test is a snapshot of time when you were negative, and until there is access to rapid, immediate result testing, there will always be a certain level of “unknown” when a lag time exists.
“I am having symptoms of COVID-19 and need medical advice or testing”
Please call our office immediately to speak to our wonderful triage staff!
Call us with any questions!
All of us at Westwood-Mansfield Pediatrics
“Proactive in your child’s care. Empowering families for over 60 years.”