COVID-19 Testing FAQ

You must schedule an appointment to be tested for COVID-19. Please review this important information before you schedule your appointment.

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Photos of Keene-area vaccine recipients surrounding the text "Let's get vaccinated! We Can Do It!"

We Can Do It!

Mary Pierce, RN, infection preventionist at Cheshire Medical Center, shares her thoughts on the importance of the vaccine and what we can all do every day to stop the virus.

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Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Cheshire's COVID-19 community testing program.

Based on where I live, do I meet the residency requirements to be tested through this community program?

You need to be a resident within the Monadnock Public Health Region, or currently have a Cheshire Medical Center provider to be tested at Cheshire Medical Center.

If you don't meet these requirements, here are some other locations (PDF) in New Hampshire that are offering COVID-19 tests.

When should I be tested for COVID-19?

Anyone may be tested, but patients with active symptoms may be given priority. Please see the CDC's Symptoms of Coronavirus page for more up-to-date information.

Get tested if

  • If you develop symptoms that may be COVID-19, even if you have been fully vaccinated. Notify any close contacts during your infectious period. 
  • If you have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19 but do not develop symptoms. NH DHHS recommends you schedule a test 5-7 days after exposure. Some people do not experience symptoms but test positive and are infectious, so need to self-isolate instead of quarantine. For more information, see our Exposure and Symptoms page.

If you have been fully vaccinated for more than fourteen (14) days or have experienced a confirmed COVID-19 infection in the last 90 days, the CDC recommends you do not need to be tested after exposure unless you develop symptoms.

What type of COVID-19 test is this? How is it given?

We use the SalivaDirect PCR test, except in rare exceptions (such as very young children)

To prepare for the SalivaDirect COVID-19 test

  • At least 30 minutes prior to sample collection: avoid drinks, food, smoking, nasal sprays, teeth cleaning, and chewing gum.
  • At least 10 minutes prior to collection: do NOT consume water. 
  • Follow these five easy steps to collect saliva for the test: Saliva Collection Steps (PDF)


Can I request an antibody test?

Primary care providers may order these tests at a patient's request. However, this test should not be considered diagnostic, of either disease or immunity. It is considered a test for past infection with the virus.  This test is not to be used to determine the ability to "return to work", nor does a positive result permit an employee to disregard universal PPE recommendations. Antibodies are not typically detectable until at least 2-4 weeks after the onset of symptoms.  

Interpreting antibody test results:

Detected (Positive) - You likely* have HAD a COVID-19 infection for an unknown period of time. You may be protected from re-infection (have immunity), but this cannot be said with certainty.

Not detected (Negative) - You likely* NEVER HAD (or have not yet developed antibodies to) COVID-19 infection. You could still get COVID-19.

*These tests occasionally result in false positive and false negative results, or results that are not definitive so should always be reviewed by a healthcare professional.

Do you have information for children to prepare them for the test?

To prepare your child for what to expect, we recommend watching this video from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

What are the risks and benefits of getting a test?

Potential risks include:

  • It is possible that this test can give a positive result that is wrong (a false-positive result).
  • It is possible for this test to give a negative result that is incorrect (false negative).

Potential benefits include:

  • The results can help your healthcare provider make informed recommendations about your care.
  • The results of this test may help limit the spread of COVID-19 to your family and others in your community.

How do I schedule an appointment?

To request an appointment for COVID-19 testing, you must meet the residency requirements (you have a provider at Cheshire or live in the Monadnock Region Public Health Region).,

To request an appointment, please do ONE of the following:

  • Fill out and submit this online form. This is the best way to request an appointment.

  • Call Cheshire Medical Center's COVID-19 Community Testing information line at 603-354-6700 and leave a message.  For information in Spanish, call 1-833-625-9604 and a Spanish interpreter will answer and interpret calls.

You will receive a call back within 48 hours to schedule your appointment. Test results are generally available within 2-5 days through the myD-H patient portal and myChart app. If you do not already use myD-H, sign up for an account.

Who should I contact about scheduling appointments for my business, school, or other organization?

Please send an email to with your request and as much detail as possible. Someone will respond to your email within 2 business days.

Where do I go if I have an appointment?

Scheduled appointments take place in the Employee Parking Lot of our main campus at 580 Court Street in Keene, NH. View map to testing site (PDF).

What do I do when I arrive for my scheduled appointment time?

To keep everyone safe, please do the following:

  • Follow the instructions on the signs.
  • Stay in your car the entire time.
  • Keep windows shut unless you are directed to open them.
  • You are required to wear a face mask.

How much does the test cost, and what if I don’t have insurance?

The test costs $102. Cheshire will bill your insurance.

If you don’t have insurance, apply for the NH COVID-19 Testing Benefit. If you need help applying for this benefit, let us know. Nobody will be turned away based on ability to pay.

How long does it take to get my test result and how can I get this information?

Your test result will be available within 2 to 3 business days. To receive your results, check your myD-H account. This is the fastest way to get your result. If you need to sign up for a myD-H account, click here to register. We will also mail your result via USPS to your address on file.

Please do not call to find out whether your result is positive or negative. The attendants answering the phone line do not have access to this information.

  • If your result is positive, a nurse will contact you via your myD-H account (preferred, so that you can easily see written educational materials), phone, or US mail. You’ll receive information on how to manage your illness, monitor your symptoms, and protect your loved ones. Please be sure to check your myD-H messages regularly.
  • If your result is negative, you will not receive a call. You will be notified via myD-H or US mail. A negative test result only means that you did not have COVID-19 at the time of testing or that your sample was collected too early in your infection. Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. You could also be exposed to COVID-19 after the test and then get infected and spread the virus to others.

What should I do while waiting for my test result?

What should I do if I receive a positive test result?

What if I receive a negative test result?

  • You were probably not infected at the time your sample was collected.
  • However, that does not mean you will not get sick.
  • It is possible that you were very early in your infection when your sample was collected and that you could test positive later.
  • If you were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, continue to quarantine for 10 days from the date of exposure. Learn more about quarantine and when to end it (PDF).

Other important information

Seek emergency medical care immediately if you have:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility. Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

This initiative was financed under a contract with the State of New Hampshire, Department of Health and Human Services, with funds provided in part by the State of New Hampshire and/or such other funding sources as were available or required, e.g., the United States Department of Health and Human Services.