Frequently Asked Questions

To view a daily summary of COVID-19 testing and results at Northeastern, or to read more about the testing procedures and policies for the Boston campus, visit the COVID-19 Testing Dashboard.

How long will it take to get my results?

The LSTC has a turnaround time of 12-48 hours from sample collection for patient results. If you are concerned about a test result which has not yet been returned, and 48 hours have not passed since sample collection, please wait to contact the Center until it has passed the 48 hour window. If you have waited more than 48 hours for a test result and you are concerned about the status of your results, please contact the Center.

Where can I find my results?

COVID-19 test results can be accessed through the MyNortheastern portal, under the Wellness Portal link, or directly at https://nuniorchard.netsmartcloud.com. If accessing your results through the Wellness Portal, you’ll be prompted to select either CareEvolve or LSTC test results; for tests performed at the LSTC, select LSTC results. You will then be redirected to your patient portal, where you can view the results from all previously taken COVID-19 tests.

What happens if I test positive?

If your COVID-19 test result is positive, your physician will first notify you of your positive test via phone. Following that phone call, your results and lab report will be made available through the online results portal. You will also be contacted by Northeastern’s contact tracers to identify any close contacts in order to stop any community spread.

What is an inconclusive result?

Test results will be returned as inconclusive if only one of the three target sequences was detected after repeat testing. If your COVID-19 test result is inconclusive, you will receive a call to notify you of your inconclusive result. Following that phone call, your results and lab report will be made available through the online results portal. These samples cannot be confidently determined to be either positive or negative, and a new sample will be required to return a definitive result.

What is an invalid result?

Test results are returned as invalid if the internal quality control failed. A new sample will be required to return a positive or negative result.

What is a "Not Detected" result?

A result of “SARS-CoV-2 Not Detected” means that the test did not detect any viral presence in your sample. While a “Not Detected” result does not preclude the possibility of SARS-CoV-2 infection, in most cases a “Not Detected” result does in fact correspond to a negative COVID-19 status, and “Not Detected” is the result which is colloquially referred to as a “negative test result” for the purposes of university policy, travel guidelines, and other policies requiring evidence of a negative PCR result.

I saw that my test was processed via a pooled procedure. What does this mean for me?

Pooled testing is a method that allows for a very rapid turnaround time for negative results via combining five patient samples in each well. Pooled testing increases the testing capacity of each plate five-fold. Pooled testing is still a qRT-PCR assay which has been validated and approved by our medical director, and which increases the testing capacity of each plate five-fold.  All samples are retained in their original tubes; any tests which require repeat testing (e.g. invalid or inconclusive tests) will be deconvoluted and run individually to confirm results. Please note that pooled testing is already the default method for processing Northeastern household samples and K-12 samples through our Ginkgo Bioworks partnership. 

How do I get a test?

If you are a Northeastern community member (student, faculty, or staff member) in the Boston area, you can register for a COVID-19 test at the Cabot Center through 05/06/2022, after which date PCR testing will be discontinued for the Northeastern community. Additionally, Northeastern faculty and staff can purchase household testing kits for members of their households; visit this link to learn more about the Household Testing Program. For all other campuses participating in the testing program, please consult your campus’ COVID-19 response team for applicable testing information. For general information about the testing process, visit the Northeastern COVID-19 Testing FAQs.

What is the testing process like?

For the Boston campus, samples are collected at the Cabot Center, and are then transported to the LSTC for testing and analysis. For all other Northeastern campuses or partner organizations, please consult your organization’s COVID-19 guidelines. To learn more about the PCR testing process, visit our PCR testing overview. To learn more about the sample collection and general campus testing FAQs, visit the Northeastern University COVID-19 Testing FAQs.

I have a concern about the laboratory I'd like to share -- who can I talk to?

Any feedback about the laboratory’s operation, test results, or communications can be directed to our Feedback Form, emailed directly to [email protected], or communicated via phone at (617) 373-7152. We take your concerns seriously, and all complaints will be addressed promptly within 1-2 business days.