COVID-19 Testing Information

En Español – Spanish

Em Português – Portuguese

Who can have a COVID-19 test at Nuvance Health?

New or existing patients with symptoms, or previously confirmed positive

  • New or existing patients experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 can have a COVID-19 test.
  • New or existing patients previously confirmed positive who require clearance using test-based strategy to return to work can also have a COVID-19 test.

Nuvance Health procedural and surgical patients

Nuvance Health procedural and surgical patients who meet criteria for testing should have a COVID-19 test at least 72 hours before their procedure/surgery. Your physician or surgeon will let you know if you need a COVID-19 test.

Other COVID-19 testing needs

Criteria for COVID-19 testing continues to evolve as testing capacity expands, and state and federal governments announce reopening requirements. Please call your healthcare clinician to determine if you meet criteria for a COVID-19 test based on the latest guidelines and your particular situation including risk of exposure or need for testing. This may include if you’re asymptomatic (not experiencing symptoms) but would like to be tested.

Where can I get a COVID-19 test, and do I need to schedule an appointment?

New or existing patients with symptoms or previously confirmed positive

Specimen collection is available for new or existing patients at Nuvance Health primary care practices. New or existing patients who want a COVID-19 test should first schedule a Virtual Visit with a Nuvance Health primary care clinician. For more information, to schedule an appointment, or to find a clinician, visit nuvancehealth.org/virtualvisits.

Specimen collection is also available for new or existing patients at Nuvance Health urgent care centers. For more information or to find an urgent care center near you, visit: https://patients.healthquest.org/services/urgent-care. Virtual Visits are also available at Nuvance Health urgent care centers.

Your healthcare clinician will let you know how to get a COVID-19 test if they determine you need one based on your Virtual Visit or in-person evaluation.

Please speak with your healthcare clinician for other COVID-19 testing needs outside of primary and urgent care. Nuvance Health specimen collection sites at Northern Dutchess Hospital, Putnam Hospital, Sharon Hospital, and Vassar Brothers Medical Center will have some availability to collect specimens by appointment only.

Nuvance Health procedural and surgical patients

Your physician or surgeon will order a COVID-19 test for you if you meet criteria for testing before a procedure or surgery. If you meet the criteria, you’ll need a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of your procedure or surgery. Your physician or surgeon will provide you information about how to schedule an appointment and where to go for specimen collection. Nuvance Health COVID-19 specimen collection sites for procedural and surgical patients are at Northern Dutchess Hospital, Putnam Hospital, Sharon Hospital, and Vassar Brothers Medical Center.

What do I need to bring with me for my appointment?

  • Government-issued photo ID (examples: driver’s license, passport)
  • Insurance card (if you have one)
  • Wear a medical face mask

How will you collect the specimen sample from me?

Under the supervision of a trained healthcare professional, you’ll self-administer a nasal swab to collect a sample from inside your nose. This is not a blood test. A healthcare professional will assist patients who are unable to self-administer the specimen collection.

What should I do after I have the COVID-19 test?

Experiencing symptoms of COVID-19

If you’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, drive home and limit your interactions with others during this time. You’ll need to be in self-quarantine at least until your test results are back. Your healthcare clinician will let you know what to do when they review your test results with you. You’ll receive self-quarantine guidelines from your healthcare clinician’s office. They can also be found at nuvancehealth.org/coronavirus.

If you have worsening symptoms such as shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, go to the nearest emergency department. Call the emergency department to tell them you’re on your way, and that you’ve been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting for the results.

Nuvance Health procedural and surgical patients

If you needed a COVID-19 test before a procedure or surgery, plan to self-quarantine from the time of your test to your procedure or surgery. In most cases, this will be 72-hours. Your physician or surgeon will provide directions specific for you.

Other COVID-19 testing needs

If you need a COVID-19 test for reasons other than experiencing symptoms or having a procedure or surgery, your healthcare clinician will provide directions specific for you.

How long will it take to get my test results back?

It may take up to 48 hours to get your test results back. Your healthcare clinician will notify you of the results. You can also access your results through the patient portal. If you’re an existing Nuvance Health patient and already have an account, log onto MyHQ247 patient portal to view your medical records. If you don’t have an account and would like to self-enroll, visit https://patients.healthquest.org/the-myhq247-patient-portal for more information.

Can anyone come with me for my appointment?

To ensure a healthy and safe environment for patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re continuing to limit visitors at all Nuvance Health hospitals and facilities. Patients may be allowed a support person if the patient’s clinical care team determines they’re essential to the care of the patient or medically necessary. These circumstances may include patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, patients with cognitive impairments, or patients requiring communication or mobility support. All support persons must pass screenings for COVID-19 risk factors before they will be approved to accompany the patient at their appointment.

What should I do if I don’t meet the criteria for a COVID-19 test, but I still have questions or concerns?

  • Call your trusted Nuvance Health primary care practice. At Nuvance Health, you can schedule a Virtual Visit and have a remote consultation with a healthcare clinician.
  • For general questions or concerns, call the Nuvance Health COVID-19 Community Hotline at 1-800-350-1595.
  • For information regarding Connecticut, including alternative COVID-19 test locations, visit gov/coronavirus or call 211.
  • For information regarding New York, including alternative COVID-19 test locations, visit health.ny.gov or call 1-888-364-3065.
  • For information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website: gov/coronavirus.

Nuvance Health is keeping the communities informed on our website at nuvancehealth.org/coronavirus, and on social media @NuvanceHealth, or search for your hospital’s name. Nuvance Health hospitals include Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital, Norwalk Hospital, Sharon Hospital in Connecticut; Northern Dutchess Hospital, Putnam Hospital, Vassar Brothers Medical Center in New York.

Self-Swab Instructions for Patients

COVID-19 Self-Quarantine Patient Information

En Español – Spanish

Em Português – Portuguese

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a quarantined person needs to be isolated because they’re at high risk of developing an infectious disease, or they’ve tested positive for an infectious disease. In this case, the infectious disease in the coronavirus called COVID-19.

If you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19, you’re helping protect your family, friends, and the community from possible exposure to this contagious disease by following self-quarantine guidelines. Following self-quarantine guidelines is especially important to keep the most vulnerable people in your family and community safe, such as the elderly and people with chronic medical conditions.

How long do I need to be in self-quarantine?

This will depend on your individual test results and exposure risk. You’ll need to be in self-quarantine at least until your test results are back. Your healthcare clinician will let you know what to do once they review the results with you.

How can I manage my health at home while I’m in self-quarantine?

  1. Stay home from work, school, and away from other public places. If you must go out, avoid using any kind of public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis.
  2. As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. You should use a separate bathroom if available. Wear a face mask if you need to be around other people in or outside of the home.
  3. Avoid sharing personal items with other people in your household, like dishes, towels, and bedding.
  4. Clean all surfaces that are touched often, like counters, tabletops, and doorknobs, with disinfectant. Use household cleaning sprays or wipes according to the label instructions.
  5. Monitor your symptoms carefully. If your symptoms get worse, call your doctor immediately.
  6. Cover your cough and sneezes.
  7. Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  8. Get rest and stay hydrated.
  9. If you have a medical appointment, call your healthcare clinician’s office ahead of time and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19.
  10. For medical emergencies, call 911 and notify the dispatch personnel that you have or may have COVID-19.

I tested positive for COVID-19. How will I know if I can come out of self-quarantine?

Please call your healthcare clinician to talk about specific steps you need to take before you can stop self-quarantine. You should not stop self-quarantine until you speak with your healthcare clinician.

Here are general guidelines from the CDC for people with COVID-19:

If you will not have a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened:

  • You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers)

AND

  • Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)

AND

  • At least ten days have passed since your symptoms first appeared

If you will be tested to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened:

  • You no longer have a fever (without the use medicine that reduces fevers)

AND

  • Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)

AND

  • You received two negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart. Your doctor will follow CDC guidelines.

I tested positive for COVID-19 and have recovered. What can I do to help others who are fighting the virus?

Nuvance Health launched three Convalescent Plasma Donation Centers, giving people who have recovered from COVID-19 an opportunity to donate potentially life-saving plasma to critically ill patients fighting the virus. The Plasma Donation Centers are located at three Nuvance Health hospitals: Danbury Hospital and Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut, and Vassar Brothers Medical Center in New York.

To qualify, donors must meet the following criteria as set forth by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

  • COVID-19 confirmation with either positive swab or antibody test
  • 14-day, symptom-free interval with a repeat negative swab
  • 28-day, symptom-free interval with no need for a repeat swab

Potential donors can register by filling out an online questionnaire located at nuvancehealth.org/plasmadonorregistration.

For more information, visit nuvancehealth.org/plasmadonorcenters.

Where can I go for more information?

  • Call your trusted Nuvance Health primary care practice. At Nuvance Health, you can schedule a Virtual Visit and have a remote consultation with a healthcare clinician.
  • For general questions or concerns, call the Nuvance Health COVID-19 Community Hotline at 1-800-350-1595.
  • For information regarding Connecticut, including alternative COVID-19 test locations, visit gov/coronavirus or call 211.
  • For information regarding New York, including alternative COVID-19 test locations, visit health.ny.gov or call 1-888-364-3065.
  • For information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website: gov/coronavirus.

Nuvance Health is keeping the communities informed on our website at nuvancehealth.org/coronavirus, and on social media @NuvanceHealth, or search for your hospital’s name. Nuvance Health hospitals include Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital, Norwalk Hospital, Sharon Hospital in Connecticut; Northern Dutchess Hospital, Putnam Hospital, Vassar Brothers Medical Center in New York.

Blood Plasma Donation Program

Decline in cases, sizable reserves temporarily suspend Nuvance Health Plasma Donation Centers

Registry to remain open for future donors

Danbury, Norwalk, Conn., Poughkeepsie, NY — July 13, 2020 — The Nuvance Health Convalescent Plasma Donation Centers at Danbury Hospital, Norwalk Hospital and Vassar Brothers Medical Center have been put on hold for the near term.

The program is no longer actively collecting donations due to a decline in COVID-19 cases in New York and Connecticut, in addition to a sizable supply of plasma already in reserves. Nuvance Health has more than 600 units of plasma stored for future use.

After working with the New York Blood Center and the American Red Cross to procure donations at the start of the pandemic, Nuvance Health opened its own donor centers in April to meet demands and to rapidly increase available plasma. Plasma contains antibodies that can fight infection and potentially help critically ill patients fighting COVID-19.

Since then, 302 patients were treated with convalescent plasma across the Nuvance Health system, both through in-house donations and those from the New York Blood Center and American Red Cross.

To participate in the program, interested donors were asked to register at www.nuvancehealth.org/plasmadonorregistration. Presently, the database has 2,182 registered donors. While Nuvance Health is no longer collecting plasma donations, the registry will remain open should the need arise.

Nuvance Health has been involved in the Mayo Clinic convalescent plasma research protocol for its hospitalized patients and is now starting participation with the Johns Hopkins protocol to treat non-hospitalized patients with convalescent plasma. This new study may necessitate reopening one or more of the donation centers.

“We thank our community for their tremendous generosity in donating their own plasma to help others during these unprecedented times and making it possible for research like this to occur,” Chief Quality Officer Dr. Diane Kantaros said.

Blood Plasma FAQs

By James Nitzkorski, MD, FACS

The use of blood plasma to treat ill patients has been around for more than a century, dating back to the 1890s to combat a variety of diseases from measles, polio, SARS, MERS, Ebola and the H1N1 flu.

With the development of a vaccine against COVID-19 months, if not a year, away, medical institutions throughout the country have started trials to determine if plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients, when given to those that are severely ill, might be effective in decreasing the severity or duration of the disease. While it is not known whether this treatment will be effective, preliminary reports from China have suggested improved results may be achieved from this therapy.

To increase access to this treatment option, Nuvance Health opened convalescent plasma donation centers at Vassar Brothers Medical Center, Danbury Hospital and Norwalk Hospital.

Here are answers to some common questions about blood plasma therapy.

What is plasma therapy?

Plasma is a yellowish liquid component of blood that contains antibodies. Antibodies can fight infection.  When someone recovers from a COVID-19 infection, they do so, in part, because the antibodies can “neutralize” the virus and make someone better.

That plasma is taken from a donor, prepared and then given to a critically-ill, COVID-19 patient. The process is very similar to a blood transfusion.

Does plasma therapy work? 

This therapy has been successfully used in the past for other viral diseases, so we are hopeful this treatment for COVID-19 will yield good results.  It is too early to know what impact this will have on COVID-19 disease progression.

Who can donate?

The criteria for donation have been set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and continues to evolve. Currently, the criteria for donation, in addition to passing the basic transfusion donation screening questions, are as follows:

  • COVID-19 confirmation with either positive swab OR antibody test
  • 14-day, symptom-free interval with a repeat negative swab
  • 28-day, symptom free interval with NO need for repeat swab

At this time, we are prioritizing donors who have had a positive COVID-19 test, and who have not had symptoms for 28 days.

Where can I donate?

Nuvance Health:  If you are close to Poughkeepsie, Danbury, or Norwalk and would like to donate at one of our hospital sites, please register at the following website: www.nuvancehealth.org/plasmadonorregistration. A staff member will contact you. Priority is being given to contact donors getting closer to the 28-day, symptom-free interval.

Other plasma donation options include:

I am pretty sure I had COVID-19, but I couldn’t get a test. Can I still donate?

Only if you have an antibody test that proves infection.  Currently, our plasma program is not able to arrange antibody testing for possible donors.  If you had a positive antibody test you are welcome to register on our website as having a “positive COVID test”

I’ve registered and filled out the Nuvance Health questionnaire. I still haven’t heard back.

We are prioritizing calls to possible donors who have had a positive test and who are approaching the 28-day, symptom free window.

How often can I donate? 

Nuvance donors may be able to donate at least weekly. Ongoing donation is not required.

I have a family member/loved one admitted to a hospital outside of the Nuvance Health network. Can I donate directly to them?

Nuvance Health is unable to transfer plasma to hospitals outside of our network. You can contact the hospital where the patient is admitted and discuss if this is possible at their location.

I have a family member/loved one admitted to a Nuvance hospital. Can my donation be given directly to them?

No. We cannot direct specific donors to a specific recipient. Plasma must be matched to a recipient based on blood type. Also, plasma may not be the right option for every patient. The decision to use plasma therapy is based on federal regulation, availability and patient specific criteria set by the treating teams.

The curve seems to be flattening. Is plasma still needed?

Yes, we still need plasma. Excess plasma can be safely stored in the event a “second wave” occurs.

Who is coordinating this team?

Our Convalescent Plasma Team consists of doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, research teams, blood bank personnel and support personnel from across our entire network to help coordinate this treatment. We have been working tirelessly since early March to develop this program.

Whom can I contact if I have additional questions?

Prospective candidates can call 888-410-1211 for more information.