Book a COVID-19 test for yourself or a family member. Don't delay if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you have a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, you should either order a test kit or book a test at one of the drive-through testing centres.
For additional help to book a test, call 119 between 7am and 11pm. Textphone / minicom users with hearing or speech difficulties, call 18001 0300 303 2713.
The call centre can also answer enquiries about the testing process and what to do once you have your result, or chase up any delayed results.
Lateral flow tests (rapid test)
In November, government announced a roll out of a new rapid test for COVID-19 in several areas, including Hertfordshire. These are called Lateral Flow Tests and typically provide results in less than an hour.
10,000 tests will be made available at first. If the tests prove to add value, more could be made available to test up to 10% of the county.
Test kits are due to arrive this week. The first priorities will be:
- vulnerable adults entering and leaving hospital and care homes
- vulnerable children, including unaccompanied child migrants and asylum seekers
- allowing foster care placements to happen in a COVID-secure way.
At the same time, the NHS will begin testing staff.
Universities will also use them to test students so they can go home. Mass testing could begin from 30 November. Some students could begin returning home immediately after a negative test. Those who test positive will have to self-isolate.
How the new rapid tests work
First, a swab is placed in the nose or throat and is then put into a tube. A liquid is added to create a solution which is then dropped onto a test cartridge. This looks a bit like a pregnancy test.
If the person being tested has coronavirus, a coloured line shows to indicate a positive result.
You can't test yourself.
Advantages of the trial in Hertfordshire
A swabbing and testing team has been set up to recommend which groups of people should be tested.
There is no perfect test, but the advantages to this for Hertfordshire are:
- we can increase testing to find more cases and support people who test posiitve to self-isolate - all without having to rely on laboratories
- by proactively testing people who show no symptoms, we can further reduce transmission of the virus
- it's a non-invasive procedure and gives results extremely quickly.
Government evaluations currently say that the test is accurate enough to be used in the community. There is some debate about false positives, especially in healthcare and care settings.
So the trial in certain areas across the UK (including Hertfordshire) is partly to see how these tests can be best used.
Drive-through tests in Hertfordshire
Check the drive-through testing sites available for the next day.
Drive-through testing sites are open on various days of the week in Hertford, Watford, Hemel Hempstead, Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City for everyone living or working in Hertfordshire.
The drive-through testing centre at Tesco Headquarters in Shire Park in Welwyn Garden City is open every day from 8am to 8pm. It has been carrying out an average of 210 tests every day. Here, people can test themselves with the swabs provided or have a swab test carried out by a trained professional. The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat.
Bring your mobile phone when you visit a testing centre. If you book a test in Watford, you may need to pay for parking as you wait.
Visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus for more about symptoms, how to book a test and the NHS Test and Trace system.
Finance and advice for individuals and businesses
If you're a business or organisation that can provide support, please register your interest to volunteer coronavirus support.
Test and Trace support payment scheme
Test and Trace Support Payment scheme - you may be entitled to £500 financial help if you’re asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and you’re on a low income, unable to work from home and will lose income as a result.
Contact your local district or borough council where you live to apply.
What community groups can do
Postpone all public events or gatherings unless it's absolutely vital.
Coronavirus toolkit - posters, social media images and videos that you can share with your groups.
Guidance for clubs - including prevention measures and what to do if you have a positive case.