Testing and tracing

The NHS Test and Trace service will help identify, contain and control coronavirus, reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.

Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions.

  • The main symptoms of coronavirus are: a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.
  • If you have Covid-19 symptoms, get a test. It’s really important that anyone with Covid-19 symptoms can get a test. This will help us stop the spread of the virus. If you don’t have Covid-19 symptoms and you are trying to book a test, do not come forwards for a test – you could be taking a test away from someone who really needs it. This is increasingly important as we head into Autumn and Winter and more people will get colds and the flu. Only if you have one of the 3 symptoms should you book a test.
  • Do not stockpile tests – we have plenty of stock and if you develop symptoms in future you will be able to book a test. There is no need to order a test in case of future use.
  • If someone in your household starts to have symptoms, then that person must get tested and the rest of the household should self-isolate with them whilst they wait for the results. If you or other members of the household don’t have symptoms, then you should not get a test – only people with symptoms should get tested. The vast majority of people who are tested in person get their results the very next day. Full guidance on self-isolation is available on gov.uk.
  • If you are self-isolating or in quarantine, then a negative test result does not mean you can end isolation early. The virus can take time to develop and so a test early on does not prove that you won’t go on to develop the virus. That means you could still be at risk of spreading the disease to other people.
  • If you have symptoms and need to book a test, you can do this online or by ringing 119. We have been seeing more people trying to ring 111 about testing but we need to make sure that 111 is protected for people who are ringing about other medical and health issues.

Anyone who tries to book a test and is unable to do so, or who is offered a location or time which is not convenient, should wait a few hours and then try again. 

More tests are available each day and are allocated based on areas of greatest need and the prevalence of the virus. As the service is very busy you may have to try more than once to access the service and be offered the location you need.

You should not go to A&E or your GP Practice to get a coronavirus test as you may spread the virus. Both A&E and your GP Practice are unable to assist you in booking a COVID-19 test and cannot provide COVID-19 testing.

Booking a test if you have symptoms is vital to the control of the virus and the saving of lives, so please continue to self-isolate and come back to the online booking portal or the 119 service if you have not been successful.

Your GP Practice cannot advise you on whether or not your child or children are safe to return to school – this should be discussed with the school(s) concerned.

Please do not visit or make an appointment at your GP practice if you have any symptoms of Covid-19 (high temperature, new continuous cough, loss of taste and/or smell).


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