Testing for coronavirus

Anyone with coronavirus symptoms can now be tested in the UK to see if they have the virus.
holding a coronavirus test
Last checked 09 April 2021

Anybody with symptoms for coronavirus can get a free PCR test to check if they currently have the virus. 

Who can have a test?

You can get a test to check if you have coronavirus if: 

  • You have any of the three main coronavirus symptoms - a new continuous cough, fever, or, a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste (anosmia).
  • you’ve been asked to get a test by a local council or contact tracers
  • you’re taking part in a government pilot project
  • you’ve been asked to get a test to confirm a positive result
  • you’ve received an unclear result and were told to get a second test
  • you need to get a test for someone you live with who has symptoms
  • you’re in the National Tactical Response Group

If you have symptoms, you and everyone you live with must immediately self-isolate. Do not leave home until you get your test results, except to post a test kit or for a PCR test appointment.

Read more on testing 

How to book a test

There are two ways of getting a test.  You can:

Book an appointment at a local drive-through or walk through test site. You must book a test before you visit any test site. 

Or ask for a home test kit which will be delivered to your home. This needs to be done and returned within 48 hours.

If you are eligible for testing but don't have internet, you can call 119. The Testing Call Centre is open from 7am to 11pm and can be accessed by people with speech or language difficulties as well as by people whose first language isn't English.

Rapid Covid-19 tests for anyone without symptoms

Everyone in Cambridgeshire can now get free, regular, rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing.

Keyworkers, those who can't work at home and households with children in school, childcare or support bubbles have already been getting tested .

But from 9 April, all local people without symptoms are being urged to take two tests a week to help keep cases low and the journey out of lockdown on track.

One in three people with COVID-19 don't have any symptoms and can spread the virus without knowing.

Where to get the rapid tests 

You can get tested at council-run community testing sites or collect home-testing kits from pharmacies and NHS Test and Trace sites. Or order online for home delivery.

Workplaces, schools and colleges are also testing on site.

If you test at home

You must register your results online or by calling 119. 

If the result is positive you and anyone you live with should self-isolate immediately and you must also get a second, lab, test to confirm the result.

More information

Full details of local testing sites, how to book a test, take one at home, order testing kits and questions and answers on rapid testing are on Cambridgeshire County Council’s website below.

Read more

Tell us about your experience of care 

NHS and social care staff are doing everything they can to keep us well during these challenging times, but there may be things that could be improved.

Your feedback can help services spot issues that are affecting care for you and your loved ones. 

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Test and Trace service

Find out about what happens if you test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or have had close contact with someone who has tested positive.


Local contact tracing

Cambridgeshire County Council, and the five district and city councils in Cambridgeshire are working closely with NHS Test and Trace to contact people who have tested positive for Covid-19, giving them help, advice and support to self-isolate, in a further bid to crack down on the pandemic.

Anyone who is concerned by being contacted can call the council or local community hub to check the identity of the tracer on 0345 045 5219.

Read more on Cambridgeshire County Council's website 


Test and Trace support payment

A one-off £500 support payment is now on offer to some people on lower incomes to help make up for any lost pay due to staying home to self isolate.

Read more about the payment and how to apply online on your city or district council's website.


NHS Covid-19 App launched

The smartphone app is now available to download. It uses Apple and Google's automated contact-tracing technology. 

It keeps an anonymous log of other users you have been close to. And if any one tests positive for the virus, an alert is sent out.

For the app to work, your smartphone must be switched on and Bluetooth enabled. Through the day it uses your mobile/wifi data to download the latest listings about venue/ other users with positive tests.

 You can also use the app to:

  • Check risk levels in your postcode district
  • Check symptoms
  • Book a Covid-19 test/get your results.
  • Get self-isolation advice
  • Sign into venues using the built-in QR scanner.

Where to get a private Covid test

The Department of Health and Social Care has a list of private (non-NHS) providers that can carry out tests to detect if you have coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

You must pay for these tests yourself.

These providers – listed in alphabetical order – have declared that they meet the Government’s minimum standards for providers.

However, they not endorsed or recommended by the Government and you should research them yourself.

There are two lists:

  • Test to Release for international travel
  • Domestic Covid-19 testing

Read more


Finding out if you have had coronavirus

The Government is starting to offer antibody tests and giving priority to  NHS and care home staff.

Clinicians will also be able to request the tests for patients in both hospital and social care settings if they think it’s appropriate.

This is a blood test which looks for antibodies to see if someone has already had the virus. 

If you receive a positive antibody result it does not mean that you’re immune, or that you cannot pass on the virus to others. It also does not mean that you can ignore social distancing measures.

Find out more

Cambridgeshire County Council have published some useful information about how Test and Trace works locally. And what their plan is to manage local outbreaks of Covid-19. 

How services are changing because of Covid 19

Read our advice and guidance on coronavirus and find out how services are changing to meet people's needs. 

Find out more