COVID-19

A 3-D rendering of the COVID-19 virus under a microscope

The team at South Shore Health is working tirelessly to care for COVID-19 patients and all who seek our care. We’re incredibly grateful for the dedication of our providers, nurses, and the entire healthcare community. 

Hope is on the horizon as we work with state and federal officials to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine in the months ahead. But our caregivers still need your help. 

We ask you, our community, to do your part by following these critical steps:

  • Wear a mask in public
  • Practice good hand hygiene
  • Maintain physical space
  • Avoid crowds
  • Ventilate shared indoor spaces 
  • Get tested when symptomatic, you’ve possibly been exposed, or before/after travel
  • Follow state guidelines around quarantining after travel
  • Get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you


We encourage everyone to seek care when you need it during this time. South Shore Health's locations are open and committed to your safety.


Information on COVID-19 Vaccinations

The Massachusetts state phased COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan


At this time, we are unable to schedule any new vaccination appointments.

This includes for our patients eligible under the state’s phased vaccine distribution plan.

We continue to work with the Department of Public Health to find ways we can be part of a regional approach to vaccinating South Shore residents.

This includes engaging our region’s community partners, faith-based organizations, and others to educate South Shore residents about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, as well as facilitating vaccine distribution in low-income and affordable housing.

Patients who have already received their first dose with South Shore Health will be able to receive their second dose with us.

We do not yet have a timeframe for our next allocation of first doses from the state. Once we receive confirmation on our next allocation, we will reach out to eligible patients to schedule an appointment.

We ask that you please refrain from calling for information about COVID-19 vaccines so that we may keep our lines open and better serve all patient inquiries.

You do not need documentation from your provider to confirm your current medical conditions. Vaccination sites will accept personal attestation as proof of eligibility when you book an appointment.

We encourage our patients to receive the COVID-19 vaccine whenever and wherever possible.

Please call the state’s vaccine hotline at 211, the state's Vaccine Finder, or visit the state’s website for more information about vaccination sites with available appointments.

Recently, Simone Wildes, MD, infectious disease physician at South Shore Health, and Todd Ellerin, MD, Director of Infectious Disease at South Shore Health, got together to hold a roundtable discussion on a variety of topics relating to COVID-19 vaccines.

You can view their question-and-answer sessions on the South Shore Health YouTube channel.

Additionally, please find answers to several common questions below.

Who is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 2?

Individuals over the age of 75, individuals over the age of 65, individuals with two or more comorbidities, workers in education, grocery, transit and a variety of other settings, will be eligible in Phase 2.

For a full list of eligible populations in order of priority, please visit www.Mass.gov.

Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The state of Massachusetts is working with business and community organizations to set up a variety of sites across the region where eligible patients can make appointments to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

For a full list of locations, including a map view, please visit the state website. The state's Vaccine Finder is another helpful tool.

Will South Shore Health be distributing COVID-19 vaccines?

At this time, we are unable to schedule any new vaccination appointments.

We continue to work with the Department of Public Health to find ways we can be part of a regional approach to vaccinating South Shore residents.

This includes engaging our region’s community partners, faith-based organizations, and others to educate South Shore residents about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, as well as facilitating vaccine distribution in low-income and affordable housing.

How can I get South Shore Health to help my community group?

If you are a community group or faith-based organization looking for a South Shore Health expert to speak to your community about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine, or who needs help administering vaccine doses, please contact Tina Dwyer, Director, Care Coordination and Community Benefits Officer at kdwyer [at] southshorehealth.org.

You can also find a robust library of educational materials in several languages on the state’s website.

What should South Shore Medical Center patients do?

South Shore Medical Center patients who are eligible for vaccination in Phase 2 should visit the state website or call 211.

If you get access to a vaccine through the state, your employer or as part of another group, we encourage you to take that appointment.

We ask that patients please refrain from calling the Medical Center for information on COVID-19 vaccines, as we are not currently scheduling appointments, nor are we creating a waiting list.

We will update our patients as soon as new information becomes available using this page and the South Shore Medical Center Facebook page.

How can I prepare for the COVID-19 vaccination?

As the state continues its vaccine rollout (and even after you receive your vaccine), we encourage you to continue to take all appropriate safety measures: wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, maintain physical space, avoid crowds, and get tested when symptomatic or after possible exposure.

Additionally, if you have a South Shore MyChart account, we encourage you to log in to your account and ensure that your contact information is up to date.

We will update the community as new information becomes available through this website, South Shore MyChart, and our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

If you don’t have a South Shore MyChart account, we encourage you to register for one.

Also, we will be sharing updates on vaccine distribution through our blog emails. Subscribe here.


Information on COVID-19 Testing

Members of the community who want to be tested for COVID-19 should visit Health Express, part of South Shore Health.

Health Express offers both a send-out PCR test that provides results via to Quest Diagnostics' secure portal within an estimated 72 hours and a limited number of rapid Abbott tests, which provide results in 15 minutes. 

Most patients who do not have symptoms will receive the send-out test. The rapid Abbott tests, which provide results in 15 minutes, are typically reserved for patients who have COVID-19 symptoms. 

Symptomatic healthcare workers, with identification, can receive results as soon as 24 hours.

There are a few things to keep in mind. 

  • These tests are only available at the Health Express locations in AbingtonPlymouth, and, temporarily, Weymouth. Testing has been moved to Weymouth after storm damage at our Braintree location.
  • Due to nationwide shortages, Health Express has a limited number of tests, so patients must schedule an appointment on the Health Express website.
  • Medical insurance will cover the test if you are: Exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough, fatigue, loss of taste/smell, difficulty breathing, or nausea; if you have a known exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19; or if you are testing with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for contact tracing purposes.
  • If you do not have symptoms and need the test for only for screening purposes, such as returning to school or related to the travel order, insurance will not cover the visit.
  • Health Express's send-out test costs $180.00, which includes the exam by the provider and the test.
  • Please like Health Express on Facebook for updates on availability.

Click the button at the top of the Health Express homepage to schedule a test.

Patients who have a primary care provider at South Shore Medical Center and are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should contact their provider to schedule a visit.

South Shore Medical Center patients who are not experiencing symptoms or who require tests for travel, work, or school-related reasons should schedule appointments to be tested at Health Express.

The Town of Weymouth and South Shore Hospital have partnered to administer COVID-19 tests at no charge to town of Weymouth employees and residents. Tests are paid for with the town’s federal CARES Act funding.

The drive-through testing site is located at the Weymouth High School, and is open only to Weymouth residents or town employees.

Visit the Town of Weymouth's website for details or to make an appointment. 


Additional Information for Our Community

Effective March 4, 2021, patients in South Shore Hospital's Inpatient Units and in the Emergency Room Observation, Annex, and West Units will be permitted one visitor for the duration of their stay.

Patients will be asked to designate their one visitor upon admission. Visitation hours are between 1 PM and 7 PM, seven days a week.

At South Shore Hospital, exceptions apply to patients in Labor & Delivery/Maternity, Special Care Nursery/NICU, and Pediatrics. Please click the link below for full details.

Any additional exceptions must be approved in advance by a patient's care team.

Additionally, we ask patients at South Shore Health's ambulatory sites to minimize visitors accompanying patients to appointments. 

Accommodations are made for patients with functional impairments or disabilities, and parents unable to obtain childcare.

Learn more about South Shore Health's visitor policy.

The recent surge in cases of COVID-19 has put tremendous strain on hospital resources throughout Massachusetts, including South Shore Hospital. As we continue in our effort to provide the appropriate level of care to all patients, we may occasionally need to transfer patients to another hospital, post-acute setting, or Alternate Care Site.

In most cases, these transfers will occur due to a lack of appropriate space/staff or because a patient needs a different level of care than we are able to provide at the present time.

If you or a member of your family is ill and visits the South Shore Hospital Emergency Department and a clinician determines you need to be hospitalized, you may be offered one of the following options:

  • You will be cared for at the hospital for the duration of your stay.
  • You will be transferred to another hospital.
  • You will be cared for at the hospital initially and then transferred to a specialized, fully staffed COVID-19 treatment facility in either Lowell or Worcester.
  • You will be cared for at the hospital initially and then transferred to our Mobile Integrated Health (MIH) program for continuation of your care at home.

Additionally, for patients being discharged to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) with or without a COVID-19 diagnosis, the state has designated certain rules and locations for care in that setting. Our team can help educate you on these rules.

Per Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) guidance, it is appropriate for hospitals to transfer a patient to another facility – regardless of whether or not the transfer is to a location of the patient’s choosing.

Patients have the right to reasonable transfer requests, such as a specific area or facility, and we will do what we can to accommodate those requests within reason.

However, if we cannot accommodate those requests, it remains appropriate for the hospital to transfer the patient, even if the transfer site is not the patient’s preferred location.

All transfers will comply with discharge planning requirements.

In response to the increase in hospitalizations due to coronavirus, Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services has updated the guidance to hospitals regarding non-emergency surgery. Hospitals have been directed to postpone inpatient surgeries for patients who will not be harmed by a delay. This is intended maintain hospital capacity in the event that the COVID-19 situation worsens further.

If your surgery is affected, your surgeon’s office will reach out to you directly with more information.

This decision applies only to patients whose procedures can be delayed. Procedures that do not require an overnight hospital stay are not affected. 

Screening procedures like mammograms and colonoscopies will continue. Please do not delay any screening tests you have scheduled. Emergency care, as always, is available 24 hours a day.

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we urge you to keep in touch with your surgeon’s office for updates on when your surgery will be rescheduled and how to stay healthy while you wait.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to keep our community healthy. Please continue to wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid gatherings, and stay at home whenever possible to help slow the spread and ease the strain on the Commonwealth’s healthcare system.

South Shore Health offers multiple options for virtual care, allowing patients to get the care they need from the comfort of home.

Our virtual care options include:

  • Virtual visits for South Shore Medical Center patients in primary care, OB/GYN, and specialty services
  • On-demand virtual urgent care visits at Health Express
  • Virtual visits for outpatient occupational and physical therapy

Learn more about virtual care.

We recognize it’s important for cancer patients to have a caregiver or loved one with them for support during treatment. However, to respond to the evolving COVID-19 situation, we have reviewed our visitor policy to protect the health and safety of our patients, visitors, and staff.

We have enacted the following changes to our visitor policy at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in clinical affiliation with South Shore Hospital:

  • Visitors are not allowed to accompany adult patients, with very limited exceptions.
  • All people entering the Cancer Center will be screened for symptoms, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, nasal congestion, sore throat, body aches, or rash.
  • Patients who have symptoms of a cold of flu should call their provider before arrival.
  • Patients must use the main entrance, with the second-floor entrance accessible to Cancer Center providers and staff only.

Additionally, the Cancer Center is now screening EMS transfers coming in, including patients and the EMS staff, while also decontaminating stretchers.

We appreciate your understanding and adherence to these changes. We will continue to make adjustments to our policies and procedures as needed so that we can maintain excellent care for our patients.


Information for Community Healthcare Providers

Due to limits on COVID-19 vaccine supplies, we are not currently scheduling first dose COVID-19 vaccination appointments to community providers and their staffs. Nor are we creating wait lists for vaccinations. 

This includes individuals currently eligible under the state’s phased vaccine distribution plan.

We encourage all members of our community to receive the COVID-19 vaccine whenever and wherever possible. Please visit Mass.gov for vaccination options

 

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