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Hertfordshire County Council

COVID tests for people with symptoms (PCR tests)

If you have a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, order a test kit or book at a test centre.

Pharmacies don't offer PCR tests (tests for people with COVID symptoms).

PCR test sites are very busy currently. Only visit a site if you have an appointment.

Bring your mobile phone when you visit.

The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat.

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.

Get a home test kit

  1. Order kits online or by calling 119. Kits should arrive in 5 working days.
    Update: demand for rapid test kits is currently high. If you can't place an order right now, please try one of the below options.
     
  2. Collect from a local pharmacy – check if a pharmacy near you is offering test kit collection.
    Update: some pharmacies may be out of stock. The government is restocking pharmacies asap.
     
  3. Home testing for school children – for children in Year 7 and above, continue to get home testing kits through your school. Parents can't get tests for themselves through the school testing system.
    Update: tests are currently not available from primary schools.
     
  4. Collect from a local library – check if a library near you is offering test kit collection.
    Update: Some libraries may be out of stock due to high demand. We expect to restock all libraries on a rolling basis, however, this depends on national supplies.

 

Report your result

Whatever your result:

 

Get tested at a lateral flow test site

Lateral flow tests are only for people without symptoms. If you have COVID symptoms, however mild, you must book a PCR test instead. Pharmacies don't offer PCR tests – don't visit a pharmacy if you have symptoms.

You can now walk in to get a supervised rapid test at participating pharmacies if you're over 16. No booking required.

Not all pharmacies offer this service – find your nearest participating pharmacy:

List of participating pharmacies

Broxbourne

East Herts

Hertsmere

Stevenage

Three Rivers

Watford

 

View participating pharmacies on a map

 

Remember to bring your:

  1. mobile phone – you'll need to provide a mobile phone number or email address
  2. face covering (not a face visor or shield) – if you're exempt, bring proof or evidence of your medical exemption.

  1. We'll ask you to register. Have your mobile phone number or email address to hand.
  2. We'll take you through to the testing area.
  3. You'll need to swab your own throat and nose with supervision from a trained professional.
  4. Once your swab has been submitted, you'll leave the test centre.

These tests cannot be used for travel. You will need to purchase a private test for travel.

 

If a close contact tests positive

If you’re a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, self-isolation rules have changed for:

  • adults aged 18 and a half or over who are double vaccinated
  • children aged 5-18 and a half, either vaccinated or unvaccinated
  • anyone who is unable to be vaccinated for clinical reasons
  • anyone who has taken part (or is taking part) in an approved vaccines trial.

These people do not need to self-isolate and are no longer advised to get a precautionary PCR test. Instead, we strongly advise you to take a lateral flow (rapid) test every day for 7 days.

If you do get symptoms, however mild, you must book a PCR test and self-isolate until you get your result.

If your PCR test is positive, you must continue self-isolate for 10 days. How long to self-isolate.

If your PCR test is negative, you don't need to self-isolate but should continue doing lateral flow tests every day for the remainder of the 7 day period. If your lateral flow test result is positive at any point, you must self-isolate for 10 days.

All children under the age of 5 are exempt from self-isolation as a close contact of a positive case. They don't need to take part in daily lateral flow testing.

When to self-isolate and what to do (nhs.uk).

 

Adults aged 18 and a half or over who have not been double vaccinated

If you’re a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and you do not fall into one of the groups listed above, you must self-isolate for 10 days from the date of your last contact with the positive case.

If you get symptoms, however mild, you must book a PCR test and self-isolate until you get your result.

If your PCR test is positive, you must continue self-isolate for 10 days. How long to self-isolate.

If negative, you must complete your initial self-isolation period of 10 days from your last contact with the positive case.

When to self-isolate and what to do (nhs.uk).

 

Test results – what to do when you get them

If you test positive

If you test positive using a lateral flow test:

  • you must self-isolate immediately
  • you do not need to get a confirmatory PCR test.

Read more: Confirmatory PCR tests to be temporarily suspended for positive lateral flow test results.

 

When to stop self-isolating

You can stop self-isolating after 7 days if you do a lateral flow (rapid) test on days 5 and 6 of your self-isolation and:

  • both tests are negative
  • you did both tests at least 24 hours apart
  • you do not have a high temperature.

Otherwise, you must continue to self-isolate up to 10 days.

How long to self-isolate

 

Help if you test positive

You may be entitled to a £500 Test and Trace support payment, if you test positive. The government has set out this eligibility criteria, which may include getting a confirmatory PCR test.

Find out more and apply for a Test and Trace support payment

You can also contact Herts Help for any support when you’re self-isolating, including shopping, pet care or staying connected with people.

If you test negative

You do not need to self-isolate.

If you get symptoms of COVID-19 at any point, you must book a PCR test.

A negative rapid test result doesn't constitute a 'green pass' and doesn't change the current national rules we all need to follow.

 

 

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