COVID-19

A woman wearing a mask shows the band aid on her arm after getting a COVID-19 vaccine

We continue to see another surge in COVID-19 cases both regionally and nationally.

Vaccines remain the best tool we have to protect against hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

We encourage all eligible patients to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which is widely available in Massachusetts. We also encourage those who are eligible for a booster shot to get one for added protection.

Additionally, it's important for all of us to remain vigilant and to continue to do our part by following these critical steps:

  • Follow state and local guidelines on masking and social distancing.
  • Practice good hand hygiene.
  • Get tested when symptomatic or after a possible exposure.


Isolation & quarantine guidelines

In recent weeks, the CDC adjusted its guidance on how long individuals should quarantine or isolate after COVID-19 exposure or a positive test. Mass.gov and the CDC offer more detail on what to do in each scenario:


Information on COVID-19 Testing

South Shore Medical Center offers self-swab COVID-19 testing at its Norwell practice.

Testing is open to both current patients and members of the public who have had a known exposure to COVID-19 and are currently experiencing symptoms - we are not scheduling tests for travel-related purposes.

Appointments are required for all COVID-19 tests. Walk-ins will not be accepted.

Schedule an appointment

If you meet the above criteria, you can conveniently schedule an appointment online using South Shore MyChart.

South Shore Medical Center patients can also schedule by logging into an existing MyChart account and clicking the “Menu” button followed by “Schedule an Appointment,” and follow the on-screen prompts.

Getting your results

In most cases, results will be available in MyChart within 24 hours. We will not call patients with results.

You must complete your sign up for a MyChart account in order to receive your results.

After scheduling your appointment, you will receive further instructions via email on how to register for your MyChart account.

Once your account has been created, you will receive an email when your results are available. 

Know before you go

These tests are not drive-thru tests - patients will park, exit their vehicles, collect a swab kit, conduct the swab, and return the kit. 

The links below feature helpful information that will prepare you for your test, including instructions on performing the self-swab.

Members of the community who want to be tested for COVID-19 should visit Health Express, part of South Shore Health. Testing is available at each of our seven Health Express locations.

Appointments are required for all COVID-19 tests.

Schedule your appointment online.

Health Express offers send-out PCR tests that provide results via Quest Diagnostics' secure portal within an estimated 72 hours.

  • 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 only for screening purposes, such as returning to school/work or for travel-related purposes, insurance will not cover the visit.
  • In the event that the test is not covered by your insurance provider, send-out PCR tests cost $180.00.


Due to extremely high volumes of patients awaiting COVID-19 testing and care, wait times be longer than usual.

Upon arrival, patients will first check in at the front desk and then will wait until our staff is prepared to conduct the test. Patients with COVID-19 symptoms are instructed to wait in their vehicles.

There may be many patients ahead of you, even if the waiting room does not appear busy.

Please allow sufficient time for your appointment this includes processing time of your test and clinical evaluation.

For patients unable to be tested at Health Express, we encourage you to visit the state website to find the nearest testing site.

At-home testing for COVID-19 using rapid antigen tests can be a great way to provide peace of mind after gathering with others outside your household, returning from travel, or a potential COVID-19 exposure.

Rapid antigen tests can be conducted on your own, and most offer results in as little as 15 minutes.

Learn more about at-home COVID-19 testing.

 


COVID-19 Vaccinations at South Shore Health

Massachusetts residents age 5 years old and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, with the appropriate vaccine depending on the age of the individual.

In addition, individuals age 16 years old and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster shot, provided it has been six months since the completion of a two-dose vaccine series or two months since receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

South Shore Health encourages all eligible residents to get vaccinated. If you're eligible for a booster shot, we encourage you to receive your booster as well.

The COVID-19 vaccine is widely available across Massachusetts — please use the state's VaxFinder website to find your nearest vaccination site.

COVID-19 Vaccines for South Shore Medical Center patients

South Shore Medical Center will hold Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine clinics for children ages 5-11 years old based on available supply and staffing.

We anticipate holding additional clinics in the coming weeks, and will notify patients on this page and on the South Shore Medical Center Facebook page as details become available.

For South Shore Medical Center patients who are looking for third doses or booster shots, we encourage patients to use the Massachusetts VaxFinder site to find their nearest vaccination site.

Curious about the COVID-19 vaccine for children? Jeremy Warhaftig, MD and Richard Kauff, MD answered questions from the public.

At South Shore Health, we believe the COVID-19 vaccine remains the most effective tool against preventing severe illness and death from the virus.

We strongly encourage all eligible individuals that have not received their initial two-dose or single-dose vaccine to do so.

In addition, booster doses are now available to all Massachusetts residents age 16 years old and older, provided that it has been six months since the completion of a two-dose vaccine series or two months since receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

South Shore Health is not currently distributing third doses or booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine.

We encourage patients to receive a COVID-19 vaccine third dose or booster at their nearest vaccination site (including pharmacies and retail locations), which can be found by visiting the state's VaxFinder website.

We are keeping a close eye on how future state and federal guidance will apply to all patients and will update the South Shore community on a regular basis.

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.


Additional Information for Our Community

Effective January 11, 2022, visitors will no longer be permitted in South Shore Hospital's Inpatient Units, Critical Care Unit, and in the Emergency Room Observation, Annex, and West Units

Exceptions to this policy must be approved by a patient’s care team.

The care team will work directly with the patient or the patient’s guardian/support person to determine appropriate exceptions.

Approved exceptions include compassionate care/CMO/end of life, discharge teaching, Goals of Care Meetings, attorneys, guardians, companions, or designated support persons for patients with a disability or special needs.

At South Shore Hospital, updated visitor restrictions also apply to patients in Labor & Delivery/Maternity, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Special Care Nursery/NICU, and Pediatrics. Please click the link below for full details.

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

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.

In late December, the CDC adjusted its guidance for quarantine and isolation after exposure to COVID-19 or after a confirmed positive test.

If you had close contact with an individual who has COVID-19 or you tested positive yourself, you can find detailed information on how to proceed on Mass.gov:

In addition, the CDC has a helpful guide that clarifies the difference between quarantine and isolation.

South Shore Medical Center providers and staff strongly believe that when you wear a mask, you protect others as well as yourself. Simply put, masks work best when everyone wears one.

Individuals age 2 years old and older should wear masks in public settings and when around people who don’t live in their household.​

To clarify our policy on this issue, South Shore Medical Center does not write mask exemption letters for either school or employment, except for:

  • Patients who have a disability impacting their executive function, who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, for reasons related to the disability. This includes, but is not limited to, severe autism, advanced dementia, or genetic disorders resulting in significant cognitive impairment.
  • Patients for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by the workplace risk assessment.


This policy is aligned with current CDC guidelines. We thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

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.

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.

News & Updates

South Shore Medical Center in Norwell, Massachusetts
Blog

All About Self-Swab COVID-19 Testing at South Shore Medical Center

All About Self-Swab COVID-19 Testing at South Shore Medical Center

A provider puts a COVID-19 swab into a test tube as a patient watches
Blog

Answers to Frequently Asked COVID-19 Questions

Answers to Frequently Asked COVID-19 Questions

An illustration of COVID-19 virus
News

An Update on Select Services at South Shore Health

An Update on Select Services at South Shore Health