Understanding Test Results

Color, the health technology company partnering with The Broad Insitute for Harvard's COVID-19 testing, will send you an email and text notification when your results are available.

Negative Test Results

If you test negative for COVID-19, no further action is needed. Continue to practice good hygiene, wear a face covering, practice physical distancing, and continue with your prescribed testing frequency. Read more tips on how to keep Harvard healthy.

Positive Test Results

If you receive a notification of a positive test, it's incredibly important to minimize your movement and exposure to others. HUHS will promptly contact you to discuss what it means to be positive and explain next steps, including a move to isolation and follow-up by a trained, HUHS contact tracer. If you don’t hear from HUHS and have an immediate question, please call them directly. As required by state law, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health will also be notified of any positive test result.

After the initial conversation with you, HUHS will contact:

  • School emergency leads, including College housing (if applicable)
  • Campus Services, including emergency management, environmental health and safety, security, facilities management, and dining services

These two groups, in partnership with HUHS, will work together to mobilize local support. They will take great care to ensure your privacy while supporting your move to isolation and, if you're living on campus, caring for you during the isolation period.

See the Quarantine and Isolation page for more information on isolation protocols.

Invalid or Indeterminate Test Results

Occasionally, your result may be invalid or indeterminate. If you receive an invalid or indeterminate result, you will need to promptly repeat the test. If your repeat test requires clinical observation, HUHS will let you know.

Please Respect Individuals' Privacy

Anonymity for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 remains paramount. Please respect their privacy— even if you believe you know who they are—so they can focus completely on their health. As a community, we must do everything we can to support these individuals and one another through this incredibly difficult time.