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Coronavirus testing in Devon

Last Updated 2:02pm, 5 January 2021


Introduction

Information about coronavirus is available in different formats and languages, including easy read, BSL and for people who are not online.

When to get a test

If you start to display any of the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) such as:

  • a new and continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a change in your sense of taste or smell

it’s vital that you arrange a test as soon as possible.

How to book a test

Community testing in Devon

COVID-19 testing via local community testing service will be prioritised to help key workers and workers in high-risk occupations who still have to attend work, and people who are in contact with vulnerable individuals, such as carers.

More about accessing the community testing service

NHS Test and Trace Service

You can book a visit to a test site to have the test, or order a home test kit if you cannot get to a test site. You’ll be told when booking your test where your nearest centre is. Book a test through the NHS COVID-19 app, apply online at GOV.UK or call 119.

Once you have received confirmation that you have a test booked, you will receive a QR code which you must show when attending the test site. If you have booked via 119 and do not have a QR code then please provide your name and date of birth when you arrive at the testing site so that they can find your booking.

On days 1 to 4 of your symptoms, you can get tested at a site or at home. If you’re ordering a home test kit on day 4, you need to do it by 3 pm. On day 5, you’ll need to go to a test site – it’s too late to order a home test kit.

Please try to avoid travelling to a test site using public transport or a taxi if you can.

Test sites

Getting tested in Devon

Regional testing centres are available in Exeter and Plymouth and these operate 7 days a week for those able to arrive by car.

Local Testing Sites (LTS) are in the process of being introduced, although there are already locations in Barnstaple and Exeter. These are semi-permanent locations that are likely to remain in place for several months. They are designed to provide test facilities to pedestrians rather than drive-through facilities.

LTS will be situated so they are easily accessible without a car. Those being tested will be required to follow public health measures, including social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practising good personal hygiene and wearing a face covering throughout, including while travelling to and from the testing centre.

Anyone attending an appointment at a walk-through test site will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the test site safely, with additional support for vulnerable groups and people with disabilities.

There are also Mobile Test Units (MTU) in locations around Devon and Cornwall. The availability of mobile units varies week by week and cannot be guaranteed as the resources may be diverted to support the response to outbreaks in other areas.

Confirmation of your nearest available site will be given when you book a test through the GOV.UK website or the NHS 119 helpline.

Whilst waiting for a test make sure you follow the latest self-isolation guidance.

When to get a test or not

None of these is a valid reason to get a test:

  • If you have returned from abroad or are about to travel.
  • You are returning to the workplace.
  • You have been in contact with a confirmed case or if another member of your household has symptoms.

You may be advised to isolate if you have been in contact with a confirmed case but you should only get a test if you have symptoms. By following these simple rules, we can ensure people who need a test can get one.

For organisations and employers

  • Schools: please follow the official guidance on testing. It is very important that this guidance is followed. Schools should not advise pupils or teachers to take a test unless they exhibit one or more of the listed symptoms. If there is a confirmed case then schools should not advise entire classes or year groups to get tested. Only those with symptoms or those advised by their clinician or Local Authority should get a test. Schools must not require students without symptoms to provide evidence of a negative test before letting them back to school.
  • Employers: you should not be asking members of staff to get tested before they come into the workplace. You can also help by communicating the guidance around testing to your staff.
  • Travel companies: you should not be directing clients to NHS Test and Trace to get a test for anything related to overseas travel.

Further guidance for members of the public

  • Only get a test if you have coronavirus symptoms or have been asked to get tested a doctor or a public health professional or by your local council. The main symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.
  • Individuals should isolate until they receive a test result or until 10 days after the onset of symptoms.
  • Make sure you are aware of NHS Test and Trace and how you should use it.
  • Do not use this service to get a test in order to travel to another country. We do not provide certificates for travel purposes. You can pay for a private test.
  • If your employer, school, or travel company has asked for evidence of a negative coronavirus test result, we are unable to provide this service. You should only get tested if you have symptoms.
  • If someone in your household starts to have symptoms, then they must get tested and the rest of your household should self-isolate with them whilst they wait for the results. If you or other members of the household don’t have symptoms, then you should not get a test – only people with symptoms should get tested. Most people who are tested in person get their results the next day. Full guidance on self-isolation is available on gov.uk.
  • If you have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus you should not get tested unless you have coronavirus symptoms. A negative test result does not change the period of time that you will be required to self-isolate.
  • If you have been abroad you must follow self-isolation guidance from the government. You may be able to end self-isolation early if you pay for a private coronavirus test.
  • Do not stockpile tests. If you develop symptoms in future you will be able to book a test. There is no need to order a test in case of future use.
  • If you have symptoms and need to book a test, you can do this online or by ringing 119. Do not call 111 which is an urgent care service and cannot help with tests.

For organisations and employers

  • Schools: please follow the official guidance on testing. It is very important that this guidance is followed. Schools should not advise pupils or teachers to take a test unless they exhibit one or more of the listed symptoms. If there is a confirmed case then schools should not advise entire classes or year groups to get tested. Only those with symptoms or those advised by their clinician or Local Authority should get a test. Schools must not require students without symptoms to provide evidence of a negative test before letting them back to school.
  • Employers: you should not be asking members of staff to get tested before they come into the workplace. You can also help by communicating the guidance around testing to your staff.
  • Travel companies: you should not be directing clients to NHS Test and Trace to get a test for anything related to overseas travel.

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