When to get a test
If you or anyone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms:
- high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste
Then, stay at home, self-isolate and get tested.
Order a test immediately online or call 119 if you don't have internet access. You should be tested as soon as possible and within the first five days of showing symptoms - this is when the test is most effective.
NHS Test and Trace service lets anyone with COVID-19 symptoms get tested.
Where to get a test
As part of the government’s five pillar strategy for coronavirus testing, there are a number of ways that you can get tested.
Testing is now available for anyone with symptoms, even if those are mild. However, you should be tested within the first 3 days of showing symptoms as this is when it will be most effective. It is therefore vital that if you have symptoms that you apply to take a test as soon as possible.
You can choose to take the test:
- at a test site near you today and get your result tomorrow
- with a home test kit
For the latest testing information visit COVID-19: getting tested.
Mobile Testing Units in Barnet (MTU)
Mobile testing units travel around the UK to increase access to COVID-19 testing. They are open to anyone with COVID-19 symptoms.
The mobile testing unit visits Barnet a couple of times each week and is accessible for people in vehicles, or on foot from 10.30 am to 3.30 pm. All appointments must be pre-booked. You should not use public transport to get there.
A place can be booked via the national booking site at: gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test
Home test kits can be delivered to your door so that you can test yourself and your family without leaving the house.
Home test kits can be ordered via the NHS website or by calling the COVID-19 Testing Centre on 119 if you don't have internet access.
Please note that if you haven’t got a test by day 5 after symptoms started, you need to go to a test site. It’s too late to order a home test kit.
What to do while waiting for your test results
While waiting for your test and results you should remain at home and self-isolated.
Anyone else in your household should self-isolate for 14 days from when you started having symptoms of COVID-19 and if they develop symptoms during that time, they should self isolate for 10 days after their first symptom.
For example: on the day you first show symptoms you should isolate for 10 days and your household members should also start self-isolating. If one household member then develops symptoms on day 4 of self-isolation, they should continue to self-isolate for an additional 10 days (a total of 14 days) to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
If anyone in the household becomes unwell during the 14 day period, they should arrange to have a test to see if they have COVID-19. If their test result is positive, they must follow the same advice for people with COVID-19 symptoms – that is, after 10 days of their symptoms starting, if they feel better and no longer have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste – they can also return to their normal routine. However, if their test result is negative, they must continue with isolation as part of the household for the full 14 days.
How to self isolate
Self-isolation is when you stay at home because you have or might have COVID-19. You should avoid contact with other members of your household as much as possible. This helps stop the virus spreading to other people.
You should self-isolate if you have:
- any symptoms of coronavirus
- been tested and are waiting for a COVID-19 test result
- tested positive for a current COVID-19 infection– this means you have coronavirus
- been living with someone who has symptoms, is waiting for a test result or has tested positive for a current COVID-19 infection
- someone in your support bubble with symptoms, is waiting for a test result or has tested positive for a current COVID-19 infection
- been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because you are a contact of a person with a positive COVID-19 test
If you are self-isolating because of COVID-19 and experience difficulties where you need support like accessing food or non-medical supplies, please contact Barnet Community Hub or call the free helpline on 0808 281 3210 open Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. Alternatively you can fill in our request help and support form for assistance.
If you experience financial difficulties or need to access statutory sick pay please visit the HMRC web pages.
You will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to provide a list of all your possible contacts. Contacts are anyone who has been in contact with you up to 48 hours before their first symptoms, spent longer than 15 minutes within 2 metres distance and not wearing adequate Personal Protective Equipment.
Ending household isolation
After 10 days, if the first person to become ill feels better and no longer has symptoms other than a cough or loss of sense of smell / taste they can return to their normal routine.
If you live with others, then everyone else in the household who remains well should end their isolation after 14 days. This 14-day period starts from the day the first person in the household became ill. People in the household who remain well after 14 days are unlikely to be infectious.
At the end of the 14-day period, anyone in the household who has not become unwell can return to their normal routine.
For more information on this visit the governments Stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection
Will I only need to self-isolate once?
Not necessarily. Given the risks of exposure to different people with COVID-19 you could be asked to isolate on more than one occasion.
After you get your test results
If the test results are negative for COVID-19
If the test comes back negative, neither you, nor members of your household, will need to continue self-isolating.
If the test results are positive for COVID-19
If you test positive for the virus you must complete an entire 10 day period of self-isolation. You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation.
If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 10 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
Members of your household must also complete a 14 day isolation period, from when you first showed symptoms, even if they don’t have symptoms themselves.
If you've been contacted by the Trace Service
If you have been tested
Within 24 hours of testing positive for COVID-19 you will receive a text or email alert from NHS Test and Trace.
They will give you instructions about how to share details of the people you have been in close, recent contact with. This includes your family or other people you live with, as well as people you have been in direct contact with, or within 2 metres of, for more than 15 minutes.
You will also need to advise of places you have recently visited.
The information you provide will be handled over a secure website and treated confidentially and only used for the purpose of stopping the virus’ spread
If you don’t have internet access you will be called by one of the 25,000 contact tracers. The service will be using a single phone number which is: 0300 0135 000 but sometimes the caller number will not show up.
The contact tracing team will use the information you provide to alert those most at risk of having the virus that they need to self-isolate. No one contacted as a result of you testing positive for COVID-19 will be given your name.
If you have not been tested
If you're told you've been in contact with a person who has COVID-19 you will need to self-isolate for 14 days from the day you were last in contact with the person.
People you live with do not need to self-isolate if you do not have symptoms. However, if you live with someone at higher risk from COVID-19, try to arrange for them to stay with friends or family for 14 days. If that is not possible, you can find advice on how to avoid spreading coronavirus to people you live with at NHS online.
If you subsequently feel you may be developing COVID-19 symptoms, you can check your symptoms online at NHS 111 online coronavirus service.