How easy is it to get a COVID-19 test in New Hampshire?

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A medical professional performs a COVID-19 test
Going in for the test at ConvenientMD. Photo/Bill Robidoux, screen capture

MANCHESTER, NH – On the way home from our secluded Independence Day vacation on Lake Champlain, my girlfriend Chelcie scrolled past an Instagram story of a person comparing their COVID-19 testing experience to Governor Sununu’s. While the Governor proclaimed “so easy, so simple, painless, done,” the Instagrammer disagreed, saying the process was long and painful.

Hazy from a weekend of lake festivities and an hour and half of driving on I-89, I was confused – why is Governor Sununu advertising how easy getting a COVID-19 test is? Most people can’t get tests, I’d assumed.

Chelcie informed me that I was incorrect: New Hampshire had just opened up the opportunity for anyone to get a test whether they were displaying symptoms or not.

Still incredulous at the good news, I demanded that she immediately look into scheduling us both for a test. It would be prudent given that we’d just traveled out of state, and would provide peace of mind for us and everyone who comes into our contact.

She submitted our applications for tests within minutes. The process is different for each of us, as she has insurance and I do not.  I learned that I will receive a letter in 7-10 days providing me with more information on obtaining a test funded by the state. Chelcie, however, received an initial call almost immediately afterward from a “form messenger” to explain that the next step would be a telehealth call from a medical professional to gather information and schedule the actual test.

The telehealth call came just as we reached Manchester. Chelcie completed it in five minutes in the passenger seat of my car. Choosing the ConvenientMD in Bedford provided her with a testing appointment at 4 p.m. – 90 minutes from the end of the call.

We arrived 15 minutes early, and after announcing our arrival waited another half an hour for the test to be administered. A medical professional came to our vehicle, had Chelcie roll down her window and remove her mask, and then spent a moment swabbing the back of her throat.

“That’s it! Not so bad, huh?” said the woman.

“No, not at all – I thought it was going to be a nasal exam!” replied Chelcie.

“I know,” the woman quipped with an expression like she’d repeated that same interaction all day.

And that really was it. When asked how it felt, Chelcie’s reply: “It tickled!”

She is due to receive results in 5-10 days, but was advised that she’ll only be contacted if the result is positive. In this case, no news is good news.

If you’re currently wondering, “How do I get tested?” please read the below from the nh.gov site:

You can be tested by:

  • Calling your healthcare provider
  • Calling Nashua City Health Department at 603-589-3456, if you live or work in Nashua.
  • For resident who live in the Greater Manchester area, please call the Manchester COVID-19 Hotline at 603-668-1547, to explore options for testing locally.
  • Calling ConvenientMD 1-833-263-0131
  • By registering through our testing registration form or calling 603-271-5980

For more information, NH residents can call 211 or visit the nh.gov site.