Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

How long to get my results?

Your test results may take up to 72 hours.

Who has my results?

To check on the status of your results, please visit the patient portal:

  • Portal website:
  • If you need portal assistance, please email: with the following:
    • Name, DOB, physical address, email address, registration ID number OR Insurance policy number

If you would like to receive your results via email, please select that option with consent during registration.

What if my results are positive?

You will receive further instruction from your county’s health department. In the meantime remain isolated away from others in your home as best you can.

What is pooling? Why was my test pooled?

Pooling helps to save supplies, especially in situations where resources are limited, and test more people. We take samples from multiple people, store part of each sample individually, and combine the other part of each sample into batches/pools, and then test each pool. This allows many more people to be tested in an initial round of testing.

If a pool indicates a positive result, the samples that contributed to that pool can be tested individually to identify the positive people.

How long will my appointment take?

We book appointment times to reduce overall wait times, but still need to move as safely as possible. Please anticipate about 45 minutes for your appointment from start to finish.

Do I have to schedule an appointment? 

Yes, appointments are required for testing

Sampling Site Hours:

Monday                       8:30-4:00
Tuesday                      8:30-4:00
Wednesday                 8:30-4:00
Thursday                    8:30-4:00
Friday                         8:30-4:00
Saturday/Sunday      By appointment only.

COVID sampling site hours may vary based on community needs. Available appointments are found by registering online or by contacting the Call Center 607-319-5708.

What if I need a ride? 

Please call 2-1-1 or 1(877)211-8667 to discuss transportation options.

There is no cost if you have symptoms or have a known exposure. The operator at 211 can discuss other transportation options for you.

Registration and Testing

Do I qualify for COVID-19 Testing?

An individual will qualify for COVID-19 testing if they meet on of the following criteria 

Individual has developed symptoms related to COVID-19

    • Fever or chills
    • Cough or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Congestion or runny nose or sore throat
    • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

Individual has been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days

Cayuga Health is contracted by the individual’s employer, school, or other organization

Individual has an upcoming procedure at Cayuga Medical Center

If you have a doctor’s order for a reason other than a pre-procedure test out of CMC facility

If you are a resident of Tompkins County

What if I don’t meet criteria? Can I pay for a test?

We are offering a way for anyone to be tested at the Cayuga Health System. If you don’t meet the criteria, but would still like to be tested, a COIVD-19 test is available for $99.

Please bring a credit or debit card with you to the test site. We cannot accept cash, checks, or money orders at this time.  This is to eliminate our staff from touching any personal items inside your vehicle. We will send you a hard copy receipt in the mail.

What If I don’t meet criteria and I don’t want to pay for a test?

There are state run test facilities with free testing.

We suggest that you call NYS COVID Hotline at 1-888-364-3065 or visit for more details about those state run test sites. You can also talk to your primary care physician about testing options.

What if my PCP tells me I need to be tested, but I don’t “meet criteria”?

Please bring your doctor’s order with you to the test site so that we can bill your insurance properly. We don’t have access to faxed documents at the test site, so please bring a physical copy or a picture of the order with you.

 I need an appointment time in the future, but there are no appointments available. What should I do?  

You can only book appointments for testing 1 week in advance 

What kind of COVID-19 test is performed at the mass sampling site at the mall?

The Cayuga Health COVID Mass Sampling Site provides supervised self-collection of anterior nares (front of the nostril) samples. Anterior nares sampling involves a noninvasive nasal swab. Unlike saliva, there is no requirement to abstain from eating, drinking or smoking.

Isolation and Quarantine

What does isolation mean?

You must go straight home, you must stay separated from all others in your home, if possible, use a bathroom only you use. If not possible, it must be disinfected after you use it, sleep in a separate room, have meals brought to your room, Visitors or non-household members are NOT allowed to enter your home, you cannot go to work, public places, social gatherings, etc.

While in isolation, how do I get access to food or prescriptions?

Call your local health department for assistance

While in isolation, what if I develop new/worsening symptoms?
  • Call your primary care provider first
  • Please do not go to the ED/Urgent Care without speaking to your doctor
  • In case of emergency call 911 You must state that you are under isolation for COVID-19
What if I had close contact with a known case of COVID 19 and/or was advised by the Health Department to seek testing but I DO NOT HAVE SYMPTOMS, do I need to be tested?

Yes, and you should self-quarantine for 14 days from your last known exposure, even if your test is negative. We follow the guidelines of the Health Department

Pre-Procedure Testing 

How far in advanced should I get my pre-operative testing?

We are following NYSDOH guidelines for testing prior to a procedure. Your provider will inform you when you should get your COVID-19 testing. 

On arrival at the site, be sure to inform the staff that you are being tested as a precursor to a surgery or procedure at a CMC facility.

Do I have to isolate before my procedure?

It is not mandated, but please take preventative measures such as wearing a face covering in public when social distancing might not be possible and minimize trips away from home as much as possible. If you have even mild symptoms right before surgery, the procedure will be rescheduled.

Can I go to the ED or convenient care to be tested?

Do not go to the hospital or Convenient Care for pre-operative testing. We are using the drive up testing site at Ithaca Mall testing site as not to overload the ED/Convenient Care and minimize the number of people with which you come in contact with before your procedure.

Can I get a COVID-19 test if my procedure is outside of Cayuga Health System?

If you are having a procedure outside of Cayuga Health System or with one of our partnering providers, and do not reside in Tompkins County, you will be required to pay the $99 fee. 

Insurance considers testing prior to a procedure to be part of the reimbursement for the procedure itself. Because you’re having a procedure outside of our system and do not live in Tompkins County, your insurance will not cover COVID testing with us. Your provider specifically does not have an arrangement to have their patients get COVID testing at our test site and you would be responsible for paying the $99 fee.

Can you provide results to my provider outside of Cayuga Health System?

If you want us to send your results to another office outside of our CHS Facilities, I need the following info: Doctors First, Last Name and Working fax number 

Pre-Travel Testing 

What type of testing if available through CHS? 
  • All of our outpatient COVID-19 testing is molecular reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) diagnostic testing.
  • Some of our sample sites use saliva testing.  An anterior nares (AN) nasal swab is available at any of our outpatient testing sites – just ask the greeter upon arrival.
  • When you registering for testing, be sure to use the same name as printed on your legal photo ID/passport. If you are unsure if you did this correctly, please contact the call center: 607-319-5708.



What are the requirements for travel? 

The pre-travel requirements vary and change rapidly depending on your airline and destination. Please take time to understand any testing requirements associated with your travel plans as guidelines may  We recommendreading all fine print, including that associated with travel insurance, in the event of testing or travel delays.

My airline/destination requires very specific documents; how do I get those? 

Many airlines and destinations require more information than what is typically available on the patient portal. To request formal documents for travel please contact the CHS COVID Call Center at: 607-319-5708. If traveling internationally, please have passports readily available for everyone in your party at the time you call.

When should I contact the call center to request travel information? 

We recommend to you contact the call center as soon as you know your pre-travel testing date: 607-319-5708. The sooner the better so that we can make the necessary arrangements to accommodate your request.

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