Testing is an important step to help protect your family and the local community. It will also give you a peace of mind if you are worried.
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How can you book a test?
Testing is available to anyone who is experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, even
mild ones. You can only get a free NHS test if at least one of the following applies:
you have a high temperature
you have a new, continuous cough
you’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or it’s changed
you’ve been asked to get a test by a local council
you’ve been asked to get a test to confirm a positive result
You can also get a test for someone you live with if they have symptoms.
To book a test, you can visit the NHS Testing webpage or call 119 between 7am and 11pm if you need help booking a test. If you do not speak English, you can ask for an interpreter when you telephone 119.
Getting a test for someone else
If other people you live with have symptoms, you can order tests for up to 3 of them.
Different types of tests
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab test
Swabs will be sent to a laboratory to be tested. Most people get their result the next
day, but it may take up to 3 days. Below are places where you can get this test:
you can order a home testing kit that will be collected by courier, or
you can go to a regional testing site, or
you can go to a mobile testing unit, each borough has a few of these sites that are closer to where you live
there are also walk in test centres that does not require booking. You might be asked for a photo ID but if you do not have one, they could still let you take the test.
When you book your test, you can select your preferred method except for the walk
in test centre.
Rapid swab test
For people who have to go to work, they can get a rapid swab test that uses a lateral flow device. This will provide a faster result, usually in about 2 hours.
What the test involves
The test involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your
throat, using a long cotton bud. You can do the swab yourself or someone can do it
Register your test
After your test, you will be given a bar code for you to register the test either via the
website or by calling 119. Keep the bar code until you receive your result. You will
also need to know the name of the centre where you took the test.
Getting your test result
You can choose to receive your result by text or email. If you use the NHS COVID-19
app, you may also get your result in the app.
How long it takes to get your result depends on the type of swab test you had. If you
do not get your result by day 6, call 119.
If you have symptoms, you and anyone you live with should stay at home (self-
isolate) until you get your result.
Negative test result
A negative result means the test did not find coronavirus. Then, you do not usually
need to self-isolate except:
someone you live with has tested positive
you've been told you've been in contact with someone who tested positive
Positive test result
A positive result means the test found signs of coronavirus. You and anyone you live
with should self-isolate immediately. What you need to do next depends on the type
of swab test you had.
If your first test was a rapid swab tests and the result is positive:
get another type of test that is sent to a lab (PCR test) as soon as possible to confirm the result;
you and anyone you live with should self-isolate until you get the result of the second test.
If your first test was a PCR test and the result is positive:
you do not need another test;
you and anyone you live with must self-isolate until you're no longer infectious
(usually until 10 full days after your symptoms started or you had the test);
you may be contacted by the NHS or your local council and asked for information to help the NHS alert your close contacts.
Resources and support
For local information on test centres, latest news on COVID and support services,
contact Hackney Council’s Coronavirus Information website
For more details of the test, visit NHS’s official website on Coronavirus
For information in Chinese language, visit the Hackney Chinese Community Services
If you want to talk to someone in Chinese, please telephone
Ms Wai Ha Lam 07761705553
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