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4.13(16 reviews)
80 Summer Street, Boston, MA 0211080 Summer Street
OpenSat 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Mon 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Tue 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Wed 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Thu 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Fri 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Sat 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Sun 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
carbon-health-boston
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COVID Testing & Rapid Testing
in Massachusetts

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COVID Test
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4.13(16 reviews)
80 Summer Street, Boston, MA 0211080 Summer Street
OpenSat 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Mon 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Tue 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Wed 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Thu 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Fri 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Sat 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Sun 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
carbon-health-boston
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No more surprise bills. Solv is committed to making getting healthcare as easy as buying groceries at the store, including knowing the price of care upfront.

PCR Test
Rapid
Results in 1-3 days
$160
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in same day
$75

Available times

5.0(1 reviews)
This clinic has shorter than average waiting periods

Short Wait Time

This clinic is rated highly in patient reviews and ratings

Highly Rated

This clinic is rated highly in reviews for their friendly staff

Friendly Staff

344 Newbury St, Boston, MA 02115344 Newbury St
OpenSat 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Mon 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Tue 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Wed 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Thu 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Fri 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Sat 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Sun 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
sameday-health-boston
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PCR Test
Results in 1-3 days

Available times

4.47(192 reviews)
4110 Mystic Valley Pkwy, Medford, MA 021554110 Mystic Valley Pkwy
OpenSat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Mon 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Tue 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Wed 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Thu 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Fri 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Sat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Sun 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
physicianone-urgent-care-medford
Book online

Recent patient review

Thank you to all your help and support
PCR Test
Results in 1-3 days
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in same day

Available times

4.51(148 reviews)
1210 Boylston St, Chestnut Hill, MA 024671210 Boylston St
OpenSat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Mon 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Tue 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Wed 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Thu 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Fri 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Sat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Sun 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
physicianone-urgent-care-chestnut-hill
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Recent patient review

Convenient location. Short wait. Have had Jim do pcr test several times. Friendly and relaxed.
PCR Test
Results in 1-3 days
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in 15 min

Available times

4.78(3.7k reviews)
This clinic is rated highly in patient reviews and ratings

Highly Rated

This clinic is rated highly in reviews for their clean offices

Sparkling Clean

776 Western Ave, Lynn, MA 01905776 Western Ave
OpenSat 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Mon 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Tue 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Wed 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Thu 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Fri 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Sat 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Sun 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
lynn-urgent-care
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Recent patient review

This was my first time using an urgent care..I was/am very impressed with the all.areond services..will definitely use in the future and will definitely refer people
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No more surprise bills. Solv is committed to making getting healthcare as easy as buying groceries at the store, including knowing the price of care upfront.

PCR Test
Rapid
Results in < 1 hour
$200
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in 15 min
$50

Available times

4.76(408 reviews)
This clinic is rated highly in patient reviews and ratings

Highly Rated

This clinic is rated highly in reviews for their friendly staff

Friendly Staff

1018 Trapelo Rd, Waltham, MA 024521018 Trapelo Rd
OpenSat 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
  • Mon12:00 am - 11:59 pm
  • Tue12:00 am - 11:59 pm
  • Wed12:00 am - 11:59 pm
  • Thu12:00 am - 11:59 pm
  • Fri12:00 am - 11:59 pm
  • Sat12:00 am - 11:59 pm
  • Sun12:00 am - 11:59 pm
physicianone-urgent-care-virtual-visits-massachusetts
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Recent patient review

Appropriate, great, anxiety reducing. Thank you!
PCR Test
Time to results unknown
Antigen Test
Rapid
Time to results unknown

Available times

4.43(108 reviews)
1019 Trapelo Rd, Waltham, MA 024521019 Trapelo Rd
OpenSat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Mon 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Tue 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Wed 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Thu 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Fri 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Sat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Sun 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
physicianone-urgent-care-waltham
Book online

Recent patient review

Excellent physician (Alicia) explaining medical terms so thoroughly. Absolutely loving my first experience here!
PCR Test
Results in 1-3 days
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in same day

Available times

4.78(374 reviews)
This clinic is rated highly in patient reviews and ratings

Highly Rated

719 Providence Hwy, Dedham, MA 02026719 Providence Hwy
OpenSat 10:00 am - 10:00 pm
  • Mon12:00 pm - 11:59 pm
  • Tue12:00 pm - 11:59 pm
  • Wed12:00 pm - 11:59 pm
  • Thu12:00 pm - 11:59 pm
  • Fri12:00 pm - 11:59 pm
  • Sat10:00 am - 10:00 pm
  • Sun10:00 am - 10:00 pm
pm-pediatric-urgent-care-dedham-ma
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Recent patient review

Other than the wait times to be released from a short test, the staff here were super professional, welcoming, and friendly!
PCR Test
Time to results unknown
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in < 1 hour

Available times

4.53(17 reviews)
This clinic has shorter than average waiting periods

Short Wait Time

This clinic is rated highly in reviews for their friendly staff

Friendly Staff

Legacy Place Building 400, Dedham, MA 02026Legacy Place Building 400
OpenSat 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Mon 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Tue 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Wed 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Thu 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Fri 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Sat 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Sun 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
carbon-health-dedham
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Recent patient review

It was my first time at Carbon Health and I had a wonderful experience. The staff was all friendly, the facility was clean and welcoming and Alyna Dale was incredibly cooperative and helpful. I’ll easily come here again.
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Self-pay pricing

Clear self-pay prices

No more surprise bills. Solv is committed to making getting healthcare as easy as buying groceries at the store, including knowing the price of care upfront.

PCR Test
Rapid
Results in same day
$160
Antigen Test
Rapid
Time to results unknown
$75

Available times

5.0(1 reviews)
This clinic is rated highly in patient reviews and ratings

Highly Rated

97 Pearl St, Braintree, MA 0218497 Pearl St
OpenSat 12:00 pm - 11:59 pm
  • Mon12:00 pm - 11:59 pm
  • Tue12:00 pm - 11:59 pm
  • Wed12:00 pm - 11:59 pm
  • Thu12:00 pm - 11:59 pm
  • Fri12:00 pm - 11:59 pm
  • Sat12:00 pm - 11:59 pm
  • Sun12:00 pm - 11:59 pm
pm-pediatric-urgent-care-braintree-ma
Book online
PCR Test
Time to results unknown

Available times

4.84(225 reviews)
This clinic is rated highly in patient reviews and ratings

Highly Rated

This clinic is rated highly in reviews for their clean offices

Sparkling Clean

101 Commerce Way, Woburn, MA 01801101 Commerce Way
OpenSat 12:00 pm - 11:45 pm
  • Mon12:00 pm - 11:45 pm
  • Tue12:00 pm - 11:45 pm
  • Wed12:00 pm - 11:45 pm
  • Thu12:00 pm - 11:45 pm
  • Fri12:00 pm - 11:45 pm
  • Sat12:00 pm - 11:45 pm
  • Sun12:00 pm - 11:45 pm
pm-pediatric-urgent-care-woburn-ma
Book online

Recent patient review

No waiting, great bedside manner, and helped in the moment (Motrin, juice, popsicle). Never felt rushed or not listened too.
PCR Test
Time to results unknown

Available times

5.0(6 reviews)
This clinic has shorter than average waiting periods

Short Wait Time

This clinic is rated highly in patient reviews and ratings

Highly Rated

This clinic is rated highly in reviews for their friendly staff

Friendly Staff

573 Worcester Rd, Framingham, MA 01701573 Worcester Rd
OpenSat 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Mon 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Tue 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Wed 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Thu 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Fri 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Sat 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • Sun 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
carbon-health-framingham
Book online

Recent patient review

I made an appointment on line for 10 am, I got there at 9:50, i was taken right in, treated and done by 10:35 Very friendly, punctual and clean. Ruthie was the triage nurse and was very friendly and Ned was my Dr, he was very friendly and explained everything that was causing my issues. I was very happy with my treatment.
Bill Icon

Self-pay pricing

Clear self-pay prices

No more surprise bills. Solv is committed to making getting healthcare as easy as buying groceries at the store, including knowing the price of care upfront.

PCR Test
Rapid
Results in same day
$160
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in same day
$75

Available times

4.44(142 reviews)
1340 Belmont St, Westwood, MA 023011340 Belmont St
OpenSat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Mon 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Tue 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Wed 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Thu 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Fri 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Sat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Sun 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
physicianone-urgent-care-brockton
Book online

Recent patient review

They are amazing here very friendly staff and comfortable atmosphere
PCR Test
Results in 1-3 days
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in same day

Available times

4.38(53 reviews)
129 Turnpike St, North Andover, MA 01845129 Turnpike St
OpenSat 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Mon 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Tue 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Wed 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Thu 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Fri 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • Sat 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Sun 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
afc-urgent-care-north-andover
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Recent patient review

The staff were excellent and compassionate. The facility was very clean

Available times

129 Turnpike St, North Andover, MA 01845129 Turnpike St
View hours of operation
  • Mon 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
  • Tue 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
  • Wed 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
  • Thu 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
  • Fri 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
  • SatClosed
  • SunClosed
afc-urgent-care-north-shore-virtual-visit
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Available times

5.0(7 reviews)
This clinic has shorter than average waiting periods

Short Wait Time

This clinic is rated highly in patient reviews and ratings

Highly Rated

This clinic is rated highly in reviews for their friendly staff

Friendly Staff

333 Turnpike Rd, Southborough, MA 01772333 Turnpike Rd
View hours of operation
  • Mon 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
  • Tue 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
  • Wed 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
  • Thu 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
  • Fri 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
  • SatClosed
  • SunClosed
arcpoint-labs-southboro-framingham
Book online
Bill Icon

Self-pay pricing

Clear self-pay prices

No more surprise bills. Solv is committed to making getting healthcare as easy as buying groceries at the store, including knowing the price of care upfront.

PCR Test
Rapid
Results in same day
$199
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in same day
$125

Available times

649 Old West Central St, Franklin, MA 02038649 Old West Central St
OpenSat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Mon 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Tue 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Wed 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Thu 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Fri 8:00 am - 8:00 pm
  • Sat 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Sun 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
physicianone-urgent-care-franklin
Book online
PCR Test
Results in 1-3 days
Antigen Test
Rapid
Results in 15 min

Available times

4.13(531 reviews)
13406 Medical Complex Dr, Boston, MA 0211513406 Medical Complex Dr
priority-lab-testing
Call now

Recent patient review

I came in one day without an appoint and waited two hours as a walk-in before I had to leave without being tested. I made an appointment through Priority Lab Testing for the next day, showed up on time, got tested easily and was on my way in 15-20 minutes. Staff is friendly and helpful.

4.27(529 reviews)
320 Prather Ave, Boston, MA 02115320 Prather Ave
priority-lab-testing
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Recent patient review

After receiving my results, I called Priority Lab Testing and discussed the results with a consultation. This consultation filled in my knowledge gaps and made me more aware of my particular situation.

4.5(408 reviews)
1340 Boylston St, Boston, MA 022151340 Boylston St
priority-lab-testing
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Recent patient review

I would 100% recommend this company to anyone wanting to check their health status. The process was incredibly easy and done through certified labs. The results are frequently back by the next day.

4.22(516 reviews)
1180 W Wilson St, Brookline, MA 024461180 W Wilson St
priority-lab-testing
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Recent patient review

Excellent customer service. Knowledgeably answered all questions. Appointment and billing were fast. Testing next day was on time and professional. Results available within 24 hours. Highly recommend.
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Latest COVID-19 Testing Updates

Oct 31, 2022
A surge in respiratory syncytial virus is putting severe strain on children's hospitals nationwide. Hospitals first began seeing the unseasonable RSV rise in August. Now, many are reporting a case increase of over 300 percent compared to last month. (Becker's)
Oct 28, 2022
With the BQ.1.1 variant on the rise in Europe, experts express concern of a rise in COVID cases this winter; encourage everyone to max out their boosters and vaccinate their children (Houston Chronicle)

COVID-19 Testing FAQs

  • How much does COVID testing cost?

    COVID testing can be free in many circumstances. As part of their response to the epidemic, many Massachusetts health departments continue to provide free testing to community citizens. In some situations, commercially insured patients, as well as those on Medicare or Medicaid, may be able to get testing for free or for a small office visit fee. COVID tests can cost anything from $50 to $150 each test for cash-paying individuals or those who require speedy answers in under an hour. It's best to call your doctor before getting tested so you can get a better idea of how much the test will cost.

  • Where can I get free COVID testing?

    The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which covers testing for people without health insurance, makes COVID testing free nationwide. Check with your local Massachusetts health department for details since they are usually an excellent source of free COVID tests, or can at least lead you in the proper way. You can also ask your health care practitioner for a recommendation for a free COVID test location.

  • Where can I get COVID testing in Massachusetts?

    COVID testing is available at many outlets near Massachusetts including urgent care centers, retail clinics, primary care offices, health departments, and more. Different venues will have different types of tests available, many at different price points. Some testing sites are allowing walk-in patients, however, many are still requiring some degree of advance booking to control patient volume.

  • Where can I get a rapid COVID test in Massachusetts?

    Rapid testing—both PCR (molecular) and antigen tests—is offered through many Massachusetts-area urgent care centers and physician offices, usually at an additional cost ranging from $50 up to $150 per test. Usually this will allow you to get results back in under an hour, and require advanced booking through the provider. However, if you can wait 24 hours for your results, many labs are turning around send-out lab tests in that time frame, which could save you some money.

  • How to make an appointment for COVID testing in Massachusetts?

    Same-day and next day appointments for COVID testing in Massachusetts are bookable directly through Solv. Simply browse the list of healthcare providers conducting COVID tests above, find one with a “Book Online” button, and book a time that aligns with your schedule stating “COVID-19 Test” as your reason for visit.

  • Can I get tested for antibodies if I am sick with COVID-19?

    An antibody test for COVID-19 might inform you if you previously had a coronavirus infection. Because it can take between 1–3 weeks after an infection for your body to develop these antibodies, an antibody test during an active infection would not be successful. To see if you are currently infected, you need a viral test.

  • Do I need a COVID test if I have been vaccinated?

    Even if you have been fully vaccinated, scientists feel you should be checked if you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, especially if you are suffering cold or flu symptoms that are usually associated with the coronavirus.

  • How long does COVID testing take?

    A COVID test is quick. A nasal swab is used for the majority of tests, and it takes less than a minute to swab both nostrils. This means you might be in and out of the testing center in as little as 10-15 minutes, depending on where you obtain your COVID test. Testing sites may be busier than usual during popular seasons, especially around holidays, and wait times may be higher.

  • How long does it take to get COVID test results?

    Most labs are sending out COVID test results via molecular (PCR) within 24-48 hours of the test. Some sites take longer, so call and ask if the reason for the test is proof for travel. Rapid tests are processed on-site and can provide findings in less than an hour, sometimes as quickly as 15 minutes.

  • Do COVID tests detect the Delta variant and Omicron variant?

    Regular COVID tests are able to detect both the Delta variant and Omicron variant in that they can determine whether or not you have the coronavirus. However, they can't tell which variation is involved. That would necessitate genomic sequencing, which is a different process from regular virus testing that not all labs can undertake. Sequencing is uncommon and can cost up to $100 per test. Since the treatment is the same for any variant, it is not clinically useful to an individual patient to know whether the infection was caused by a variant or not.

Recent COVID-19 Testing Reviews (20)

The Covid test options and process of searching for a test facility can be daunting and confusing as you probably hear from many people. I’m SO glad I chose Physician One since the girl who explained the online booking & the testing steps the other day was patient & helpful; plus Kimberly Carr with whom I had my video visit this morning was outstanding-kind, professional, knowledgeable and clear about the various test options and the details of my upcoming test. She excels at customer service and I hope this feedback reaches her.

- Verified patient on 12/4

Waited over an hour from my appointment time which was unfortunate but understandable. The physician who I saw was extremely disappointing and did not respect my patient autonomy to receive the care that I wanted. Being someone who is in the medical field, i would never say “alright, i’m done hitting my head against the wall,” to a patient who is requesting something as simple as a COVID test. The rest of the staff inside the actual office were very friendly and caring.

- Verified patient on 1/9

Been there 3 times for COVID tests; short to no wait time, quick efficient service; registration is cumbersome - initiating process on website seems to result in a telemedicine appointment which requires phone followup to correct to just a drive-thru test; also received a cancellation notice for my test appointment only to call and find out it was not cancelled; whenever I've spoken to a human everything was fine; improved user interface and better coordination between website and appointment bookings would help

- Verified patient on 11/19

I was a walk-in for a Covid test on a Saturday. I didn’t see on the website that walk ins are only taken after 1:00pm. I arrived around 12:30 pm. There was no one there so I don't understand why they couldn’t take me. By 1:00 pm the waiting room began to fill up which could have been avoided. The wait wasn’t that long and the results were quick. Overall a great experience. The staff was very friendly, helpful and professional.

- Verified patient on 8/22

Whole experience felt safe especially with covid going on, only comment is that your receptionist at 3pm 4/23/*** was not very friendly at all, in fact she acted rudely on the phone however everyone else was wonderful. I went in a couple days ago for a strep test and covid test which both came out ok. The person who did the test and the Dr I spoke with on the phone before the test were both very pleasant.

- Verified patient on 4/23

I came in for a rapid COVID test so I could see my dad in hospice. When I mentioned the reason I was there, the staff was so kind and worked to get me in and out quickly. When I needed my results sent a second time, they were so helpful and sent them quickly. Thanks for making a difficult time a bit easier. I cannot tell you how much I appreciated your kindness.

- Verified patient on 3/30

6 of us had COVID tests. 5 got our results. We where told you would be open on Thanksgiving, that’s the main reason we went there. You were not open and we have no one to contact for help. For 1, this was a total waste of time and money. We were also given one price when we made our appointments, but on test day, we were told a $30 higher price per person.

- Verified patient on 11/26

I needed to get a COVID test I booked a telemedicine appt. it wasn’t clear to me that that the telemedicine appt was an intake appt. I went to the location. I will have to go back for the actual test. Not a problem as I live close but maybe the process could be clarified. Hang in there folks!! You’re doing a great job

- Verified patient on 8/3

Had a video consultation with Dr. Rick. He was friendly and personable. He recommended that I get covid tested and called the office ahead of my arrival 30 minutes later. The staff at the office was speedy and courteous. I was done in less than 5 minutes. Now I wait for the results...

- Verified patient on 1/13

It was the best experience. I f you have to have a Covid test, this is the place to go.From the moment we walked in and we were greeted by Marge, had the test with Judi and the checkup with Sam, it was easy and believe it or not warm Thank you.

- Verified patient on 12/21

Needed a quick covid test. My phone call was answered by a real human. The procedure to get the test taken was explained thoroughly. Questions were answered and the test was administered quickly. All the staff, nurses and doctor were all professional, courteous and caring. I do highly recommend this service.

- Verified patient on 4/2

I got the COVID testing window incorrect and the nurse still came out to test me and just explained my results would be delayed as the lab pickup had already occurred. Very grateful I was still able to be tested as I need results for my second job.

- Verified patient on 12/7

3 of us came to have a Covid test because we were exposed to a person who tested positive. Judy and Sam were wonderful and professional in their dealings with us. I would highly recommend this urgent care and the great staff who cared for us.

- Verified patient on 12/19

I scheduled an appointment for 8am and was not seen until after 9am, the nurse who took my Covid test was great, very friendly, quick and informative, the girl at the front desk was not very informative or friendly. Very clean facility!

- Verified patient on 2/23

After filling out paper work regarding sinus infections...Dr called and ask me you calling about covid testing. I said no. He said well how can i help you? It had me a bit concern he didnt know why i was calling...

- Verified patient on 1/3

Great place and staff. Definitely recommend this place if you are traveling and need to get your COVID test done. Get your appointment in few days ahead and the rest is simple. Result is made available in few hours.

- Verified patient on 2/25

Wanted a quick covid test. Very easy to call, schedule,and get in to get the test done. Only complaint is I was not told when the results will be in. I guess I'll callback to find out.

- Verified patient on 3/8

The Chelmsford staff has been very friendly, efficient & accommodating. We have used the COVID testing opportunity several times & appreciate all they have done to make this experience as simple as possible. Bravo to all!

- Verified patient on 1/4

Staff was great but went in for covid test and had to wait for an exam which I didnf know ahead of time and was late for work...why not just do tests like cvs etc

- Verified patient on 7/27

The clinic was immaculate and the staff (from the front desk staff to the medical assistant that administered my daughter’s Covid test) was so friendly and professional. An excellent experience, highly recommend this location. A++!

- Verified patient on 4/12

About COVID Testing

Types of COVID Tests

There are two types of coronavirus tests (COVID-19 tests) available, those that can test for a current infection (viral test) and those that can test for a past infection (antibody test).

Viral COVID testing can be done in a few different ways, the most common being nose swabs, but saliva tests are becoming more popular. Some tests are processed out on-site and can provide results in as little as 30 minutes. These are called rapid COVID tests. The majority of tests, on the other hand, are collected at the clinic on-site and then submitted to off-site labs for processing. Results can take up to 2-3 days to arrive. 

Antibody testing looks for a past infection and may not reveal if you have an active COVID-19 infection because antibodies can take up to three weeks to form in your body. The presence of COVID antibodies may help to prevent you from becoming infected with the same virus again; but, because the clinical understanding of COVID-19 is still developing, it's unclear how long that protection will continue.

Who should get tested for current infection

The CDC currently defines four instances where COVID testing is recommended:

  1. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 including fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.
  2. If you have been in close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19. Close contact is defined as within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. If you have been vaccinated, or tested positive in the past 3 months and not experiencing symptoms, you do not need to be tested.
  3. If you are unvaccinated and participated in high-risk activities where distancing is not an option. This could include travel, large social or mass gatherings, crowded indoor settings, etc.
  4. If you have been referred to get a COVID test by your healthcare provider or local health department. 

How is testing done for COVID-19?

Most COVID tests are collected by a nasal swab. A member of the medical team puts a swab inside your nose for a few seconds on each side to collect the sample. After that, the samples are packaged according to CDC guidelines and tested on-site or transported to a facility for testing. The lab will test samples for the presence of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which causes COVID infection and either your care provider or the lab will notify you with the results as soon as they are available.

Molecular vs Antigen Tests

Viral COVID tests are available as molecular and antigen tests. The molecular test, also known as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, usually delivers results within a few days since most of these tests are sent to offsite labs for analysis. The average turnaround time for PCR test results is 48 hours, but in some instances may be significantly longer due to backlogs related to insufficient lab volume and capacity. Antigen tests are also known as rapid tests and have an average turnaround time of between 15 to 30 minutes.

Both PCR and rapid COVID tests can be used to test people exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, those who were close contacts to COVID-19, and those without COVID-19 symptoms who live or work in a high-risk setting (such as a nursing facility); or those individuals who are identified as part of outbreak detection and response. The rapid COVID test is also recommended for the screening of residents or healthcare workers at skilled nursing facilities along with a PCR confirmation, and for repeat screening for the early detection and prevention of outbreaks in congregate settings (such as schools, workplaces, and prisons).

COVID testing is available for free under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes testing for those without health insurance. To reduce the risk of facing extra costs related to COVID testing, ask your primary care doctor to recommend a free COVID test site, and confirm there are no charges or fees for the test that are not covered by your insurance plan. Additionally, avoid getting a COVID test at a hospital or free-standing emergency room, as these facilities may charge fees for COVID testing and related services.

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