Coronavirus testing

How and when to get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19).
Owing to the change in Government Coronavirus guidance, this page is currently under review. If you have any queries, please contact

This information was current at the time this page was last updated on: 14 May 2021, 2.39pm

Who is being tested for COVID-19?

Anyone can request to be tested for COVID-19.

If you are a staff member at Thera, please see the further guidance for staff section for more information about testing protocol for staff and people we support – you will have received an email with the password. If you do not have the password, please email


When should I get tested?

You should book a test if you are showing symptoms of coronavirus, or if you have been asked to get tested.

If you have symptoms, get a test as soon as possible. You need to get the test done in the first 5 days of having symptoms.

Lateral Flow Tests are advised to be taken twice weekly, 3 to 4 days apart.


How do I book a test?

If you have any of the symptoms of coronavirus, you can ask for a test through the Government’s website:

What is the process for testing?

The process involves taking a swab from inside your nose and the back of your throat. The test will either be assisted (i.e. someone else does it) or self-administered (i.e. you do the test yourself).

You can be tested:

  • by visiting a drive through testing site near your home
  • at home – with a home testing kit
  • within NHS facilities if you are a patient or NHS worker

For PCR tests, a courier will collect your test and safely deliver it to a laboratory or you will need to send it through a priority post box. You should receive your results within 48 hours of the swab being taken, or within 72 hours for a home test.

For Lateral Flow Tests, you will receive a result 30 minutes after completing your home self-administered test.


Test and Trace (England)

The NHS test and trace service will help to control the rate of reproduction (R) of COVID-19, reduce the spread of the infection and save lives.

The service launched in England on Thursday 28 May 2020.

The NHS Test and Trace service focuses on:

  • Testing: Making sure people can be tested as soon as they show symptoms.
  • Tracing: Finding people who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus so they can self-isolate, even if they have no symptoms themselves.

More information:


Test and Trace App

The Test and Trace App for England and Wales launched on Thursday 24 September.

It has a number of features:

  • Trace: find out when you have been near other app users who have tested positive for coronavirus.
  • Alert: lets you know the level of coronavirus risk in your postcode district.
  • Check-in: get alerted if you have visited a venue where you may have come into contact with coronavirus, using a simple QR code scanner. No more form filling.
  • Symptoms: check if you have coronavirus symptoms and see if you need to order a test.
  • Test: helps you order a test if you need to.
  • Isolate: keep track of your self-isolation countdown and access relevant advice.

You can find out more about the App at:

Download the Test and Trace App for England and Wales


Test and Protect (Scotland) 

Test and Protect is part of the Scottish Government’s strategy to combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) 

It supports the ‘test, trace, isolate, support’ approach. 

Anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus will be required to self-isolate for 10 days. 

They will be asked to provide details of people they have been in close contact with to their local contact tracing team. 

An NHS contact tracer will contact people who have been in close contact with someone with coronavirus and ask them to self-isolate for 10 days, even if they don’t have any symptoms. 


Protect Scotland App 

The free NHS Scotland Protect Scotland app has been designed to help protect people in Scotland, reduce the spread of coronavirus and avoid further lockdowns. 

By using the app and following current health guidelines we can all stay safe when we meet up, socialise, work or travel. 

Find out more about the Protect Scotland app at:


I have tested positive for COVID-19, how does the Test and Trace/Test and Protect service work?

If you test positive for coronavirus, you will receive a text or email within 24 hours from the Test and Trace (England and Wales) or Test and Protect (Scotland) service with instructions of how to share details of people you have been in close, recent contact with and places you have visited.

You must respond to the message as soon as possible so that they can give appropriate advice to those who need it. You will be asked to do this online via a secure website or you will be called by one of the NHS contact tracers.

More information about Test and Trace:

More information about Test and Protect:


I have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, what happens next?

If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will be contacted by an NHS contact tracer. They will give you advice on what to do next.

New guidance from the Government says people who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate for 10 days, even if they have no symptoms.

More information:


Do members of my household have to self-isolate if I have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?

No they will not have to self-isolate, however you should avoid contact with them as far as possible and follow the Government guidance on hygiene.

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 then anyone you live with must self-isolate for 10 days and you must request to be tested. You should complete your 10-day period of self-isolation even if your result comes back negative as you may have had the virus without knowing. However if you test negative, other members of your household will not need to continue self-isolating.

More information: