With vaccination rates rising and COVID-19 case numbers declining across the state, we're optimistic that the end of the pandemic is in sight.
While we all look forward to a return to normal activities, it's important to remain vigilant and to continue to do your part by following these critical steps:
- Get the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines are available for all Massachusetts residents age 12 years old and older.
- Follow state and local guidelines on masking and social distancing.
- Practice good hand hygiene.
- Get tested when symptomatic or after a possible exposure.
By taking these steps, we can continue to keep the COVID-19 numbers down and look forward to more normal days ahead.
We're incredibly grateful for the dedication shown by our colleagues throughout the pandemic, as well as for the support we've received from our community.
COVID-19 Vaccinations at South Shore Health
The state of Massachusetts has reached Phase 3 of its vaccine distribution plan.
All Massachusetts residents age 12 years old and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
COVID-19 Vaccines at Health Express
Appointments are available for patients age 12 years old and older.
COVID-19 Vaccines for South Shore Medical Center patients
South Shore Medical Center will hold a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at its Norwell practice on Thursday, June 29 from 4-6 PM.
The clinic will distribute the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and will be open to all South Shore Medical Center patients age 12 years old and older.
Vaccines will be distributed by South Shore Medical Center providers and clinicians, who will also be on site to answer any questions you may have.
For the safety of our patients and staff, we ask that patients please limit the number of people accompanying them to their appointment whenever possible.
Appointments are required. Scheduling for the clinic is now open.
To schedule an appointment, please log in to your South Shore MyChart account or call the Medical Center.
Curious about the COVID-19 vaccine?
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.
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 Abbott ID Now Rapid Molecular tests, which provide results in 15 minutes, and send-out PCR tests that provide results via Quest Diagnostics' secure portal within an estimated 72 hours.
- COVID-19 testing is available at each of our seven Health Express locations. Appointments are not required for COVID-19 testing.
- 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/work or for travel-related purposes, insurance will not cover the visit.
- Health Express's rapid PCR molecular test costs $160.00. The send-out PCR test costs $180.00. Both fees include the exam by the provider and the 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.
Additional Information for Our Community
Effective June 7, 2021, patients in South Shore Hospital's Inpatient Units and in the Emergency Room Observation, Annex, and West Units will be permitted one visitor at a time during visitation hours.
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.
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.