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COVID-19 Testing Guidance

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing guidance for laboratories, on-site testing locations, and entities such as employers and long term care residences.

Table of Contents

Testing guidelines

BinaxNOW Antigen tests are rapid antigen tests which can be performed at point-of-care to supplement molecular testing and help mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more: 

Guidance for municipal leaders

The Command Center has developed a guidance for municipal leaders looking to establish testing programs in their communities.

Related: Cluster and Rapid Response Testing FAQ

Guidance for laboratories

The Department of Public Health (DPH) has outlined guidance for clinical laboratories regarding COVID-19, specimen collection, testing, and submission to the Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory: COVID-19 Guidance: Massachusetts State Public Health Laboratory FAQ PDF | Doc

Guidance for health care provider settings

Guidance for on-site testing locations

To all healthcare sites or facilities that are currently performing or planning to perform COVID-19 testing on-site: please be aware that this is a notifiable disease and results must be reported to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health within 24 hours. Contact  at the Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences for assistance.

What to report:

  • Isolation of coronavirus from a clinical specimen; or
  • Detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in a clinical specimen using a molecular amplification detection test; or
  • Detection of SARS-CoV-2 antigen in a clinical specimen; or
  • Detection of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in serum, plasma, or whole blood.
  • All results (positive, negative, equivocal) should be reported.

DPH Guidance: 

Guidance for long-term care facilities

BinaxNOW Antigen tests are rapid antigen tests which can be performed at point-of-care to supplement molecular testing and help mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guidance for community health centers and community hospitals

Guidance for congregate care surveillance testing

On August 4, 2021, EOHHS issued revised surveillance testing guidance for organizations that operate residential congregate care programs, veteran’s shelters, and residential schools. EOHHS Congregate Care Surveillance Testing Guidance (this guidance replaces the May 12, 2021 and March 22, 2021 guidance)

Guidance for schools

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), the Department of Public Health (DPH), and the Command Center have developed guidance for schools looking to establish pooled and/or symptomatic testing:

Guidance for state-operated sites

Asymptomatic testing guidance

If your lab partner or existing supplier is not able to provide you with sufficient test kits to maximize daily capacity, you can request kits (swabs and transport media) from the Department of Public Health by filling out this form: Resource Request Form for Testing Supplies and submitting it via email to your Regional HMCC. Regional HMCC contact info can be found on Learn about HMCC. Please consult with your lab before requesting kits to ensure you request the proper supplies.

Testing supplies

For swab and medium testing supplies, Fill out and download the testing supplies request form and submit it via email to your Regional HMCC.

Additional resources:

Testing options for Entities

Entities include employers, long term care and assisted living residences, homeless shelters, etc.

Individuals who have a COVID-19 symptom or are a close contact of an individual who is COVID-19 positive should be tested. This testing should be covered by insurance. Please visit our Find a COVID-19 Test locator to find a convenient testing site.

Some entities, such as employers or long term care and assisted living residences, may wish to make testing available for asymptomatic individuals with no known exposure. This type of testing is unlikely to be covered by insurance and will need to be paid for privately. Many community health centers (CHCs) and local hospitals (listed above under “Testing Sites”) are providing this kind of testing. In addition, the providers below have indicated that they offer this type of testing. Please check the boxes below and click “Search” to determine which provider(s) may fit your needs. When your results are shown, click the name of the provider to see more information about them and how to contact them.

Testing at Independent Senior Housing: Frequently Asked Questions

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