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Testing and support

How to stop the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus) – testing and support

Covid-19 test – how do I book one?

If you have symptoms, you should have a test as soon as possible to check if you have Covid-19 (coronavirus).

A test is free and easy.

You can request a test online at

If you have problems using the online service (for England):

You can choose to take the test:

  • at a nearby test site
  • with a home test kit if you cannot access a testing site (this takes longer).

Locations can be discussed when booking the test.

You must not use public transport or taxis to access test sites. You must not visit other places or people.

Test site staff can access telephone and BSL video interpreters.

You need to get the test done within the first 8 days of having symptoms or within 4 days, if being tested at home.

The test involves taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud.

You will receive your results by text, phone or email.

Information about your test gathered by the NHS Test and Trace Service is kept confidential in line with strict data protection rules and is separate from your NHS medical records.

Whatever your immigration status, you are entitled to a free test and free NHS treatment for Covid-19 in the UK – no immigration checks are required.


  • Book a test quickly if you develop a cough, high temperature or change or loss of taste or smell.
  • You must self-isolate while you wait for your test results or if your test is positive (you have coronavirus).

See our other leaflets for further information

Test and Trace – what happens if I have been in contact with someone with Covid-19?

If you test positive for Covid-19 the NHS Test and Trace service will contact you to ask about anyone you have been in close contact with in the 2 days prior to your symptoms starting.

The Test and Trace Service will:

  • call you from 0300 013 5000 or
  • send you text messages from ‘NHStracing’
  • ask you to sign into the website if you can

They will ask you:

  • for your full name, date of birth and postcode of where you live
  • about any Covid-19 symptoms you have been experiencing
  • to provide the name, telephone number and/or email address of anyone you have had close contact with and if anyone you have been in contact with is under 18 or lives outside of England.
  • They will explain what they mean by a ‘close contact’.
  • Anyone you have been in close contact with will be told to self-isolate.

Test and Trace will not say who has informed them and your details will be kept confidential.

They will never ask you:

  • to dial a premium rate telephone number (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
  • to download software or take control of your computer
  • to pay for something or ask for your bank or credit card details
  • for your passwords, PINs or social media identities
  • to access any website other than a or website.

The Test and Trace Service may also phone or text you if they discover you have been in close contact with someone with Covid-19 they will advise you that you have been in contact with someone and that you need to self-isolate for 10 days.

During those 10 days, if you develop symptoms you should arrange to get tested.

Help and support – what help is available to me while I self-isolate?

If you test positive for coronavirus or have to self-isolate because of close contact with someone with coronavirus tell your employer that you cannot come into work.

You can get an Isolation Note from

If you cannot get sick pay from your employer, you might be able to get benefits such as Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from day one of self-isolation.

If you are not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (for example, you are self-employed) you may be eligible for Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Visit for more details, or for independent advice and assistance, call the Citizen’s Advice Adviceline: 0800 144 8848 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) and Press 4. (Telephone interpreters are available).

If you need food and medicine, shop online if you can, and ask for things to be left outside your house to collect, such as on the doorstep.

If you can’t shop online and need help getting food or medicine, or need financial help, community organisations in your local area can help.

If you don’t know who these are, contact your local council, church or faith group or ask a friend for help (you will need to phone or email).

If you are well enough, try to stay active in the home and keep yourself occupied.

Help and support during the coronavirus pandemic – information for Devon residents

If you are feeling unwell or need advice about coronavirus symptoms, you should call 111 or visit

If you need help with food, money, medicine or other advice or assistance visit

Or call a District Council Community Hub Support helpline:

East Devon: 01395 571500

Exeter: 01392 265000

Mid Devon: 01884 234387

North Devon: 01271 388280

South Hams: 01803 861297

Teignbridge: 01626 215512

Torridge: 01237 428700

West Devon: 01822 813683

For free, impartial and confidential advice to help overcome your problems, including advice about benefits visit or call the Citizen’s Advice Adviceline: 0800 144 8848 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday).

Alternatively, if you need other help because you are isolated please call Devon Coronavirus Emergency Helpline 0345 155 1011 (open Monday to Friday 8am-8pm and Saturday 9am-1pm).

Stay on the line to speak to an advisor. Advisors can access telephone interpreters.

Deaf people can use InterpretersLive at:

Devon community organisations database, visit

Find out more