November 16, 2020

When to be Tested for COVID-19

Huggins Hospital recently shared details to help community members learn when they should be tested for COVID-19. According to experts at the hospital, there are three main points to consider when questioning when to be tested – the timing of your exposure, your symptoms and advice from your healthcare provider.

The best time to be tested for COVID-19 is five days after exposure to someone with confirmed COVID-19. Exposure is defined by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services as having close contact – within six feet of an infected person for 10 minutes or more – with someone with confirmed COVID-19. Getting tested too soon puts you at risk for an incorrect result. Anyone who needs to be tested has to isolate or self-quarantine at home until they are ready to be tested and while awaiting a result from their test.

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should be tested. Symptoms of COVID-19 include upper respiratory tract symptoms (cough, nasal congestion, runny nose or sore throat) and flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, muscle aches, fatigue or headache), shortness of breath, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or a new loss of taste or smell. According to Huggins Hospital, if anyone experiences shortness of breath, they should contact emergency professionals by calling 9-1-1 or they should go to the nearest emergency department. If you suspect you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please share that information with ambulance and emergency workers. If you are able, you can call the local emergency department ahead of your visit to alert them of your exposure concern. The teams of experts in Huggins Hospital’s Emergency Department are ready to care for anyone experiencing symptoms that require urgent attention.

Along with exposure risk and symptoms, community members also should be tested for COVID-19 if they have received advice from their healthcare provider or the state’s department of public health that a they need a test.  

“We are currently managing a significant influx of calls for COVID-19 testing,” said Melanie MacMullin, Huggins Hospital’s Director of Patient Access. “It is best that community members follow the guidelines for when to get tested so we’re able to ensure those who are at most risk can access testing quickly. We have transitioned multiple staff members to our COVID-19 Hotline to help everyone in our community.”

Community members should contact their primary care provider if they are sick or if they think they need to be tested for COVID-19. If someone does not have a primary care provider, they can call Huggins Hospital’s COVID-19 Hotline at 603.569.7558 for assistance in getting a test order and an appointment. Community members also can find testing options on the state’s testing map online at