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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptoms and how to get a test

In this section


What are the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)?

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Website: NHS 111 check if you have coronavirus symptoms (opens in a new window)


What should you do if you have symptoms?

  • if you have symptoms and have not had a test, stay at home and get a test as soon as possible
  • if you are getting a test because you have symptoms, you and anyone you live with must self-isolate until you get your result
    • this also applies to anyone in your support bubble (where someone who lives alone - or just with their children - can meet people from 1 other household)
  • you must also self-isolate if you cannot get a test

Book a test

If someone has symptoms of Covid 19 they should get a test as soon as possible.

Website: Get a free NHS test (opens in a new window)

Order a home testing kit if you cannot get to a testing site.

Website: Order a home test kit from GOV.UK (opens in a new window)


Are you an essential worker and need to book a test?

Guidance on coronavirus testing, including a list of essential workers and those prioritised for testing (England only).

Website: Book a test for essential workers (opens in a new window)


Lateral flow testing to communities and businesses

The Councils across Worcestershire are working together to roll out lateral flow testing to communities across the county

A number of private sector businesses appear to be looking to offer paid for tests to businesses and members of the public within the county. Such tests have been available nationally for some time, especially for people going on, or returning from, holidays.

The advice from central government is that people should do their own research into the business offering the test and the test itself before paying for a COVID-19 test. The Government has a list of people who have met criteria either for general testing or testing for those travelling for holidays but these businesses are not necessarily recommended by Government.

Website: List of private providers of coronavirus testing from GOV.UK (opens in a new window)

Whilst these businesses are not recommended by public bodies like government or local authorities, this list may provide a helpful starting point for those wishing to pay for a test. If the provider you identify is not on the Government list, you may wish to question why this is the case. Alternatively, you may wish to wait until free testing becomes available locally, especially if you have no symptoms. If you do have symptoms, you should get a test via the usual route and self-isolate.

Website: Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing: guidance for employers and third-party healthcare providers from GOV.UK (opens in a new window)

Further advice and guidance

Website: Getting tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) from GOV.UK (opens in a new window)

Website: Education and childcare from GOV.UK (opens in a new window)

Website: Mass asymptomatic testing in specialist settings from GOV.UK (opens in a new window)

If you have any real concerns regarding anyone offering testing, you should contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0800 223 1133 and details will be passed to Trading Standards who may need to refer the matter to the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency.


When should I book a test for my child?

The Department of Health and Social Care has published guidance to parents and guardians on when you should book a coronavirus test for your child.

Website: Guidance to parents and guardians: when you should book a coronavirus test for your child from GOV.UK (opens in a new window)

For general advice on whether your child is too ill to attend school please visit the NHS Live Well website:

Website: Is my child too ill for school from NHS (opens in a new window)

Download: Flowchart for Child Sickness Absence from Worcestershire Children First (PDF)


Using a home testing kit

You may have the option to use a home testing kit. Watch this step by step guide on taking your own swab.

It shows how to take a throat and nose swab using a single swab, and should be used with the instruction sheet provided in the kit.


NHS Test and trace

The NHS Test and Trace service forms part of the Government’s strategy to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to talk through their recent interactions. This could include places that they’ve visited or people they’ve been in direct contact with in the few days, just before and after they first got symptoms.

The people identified will then be contacted by the service and should self-isolate for 10 days, even if they do not have symptoms. The aim is to stop the virus being passed on from person to person and prevent a bigger outbreak.

If NHS Test and Trace calls you by phone, the service will be using a single phone number 0300 0135 000. The only website the service will ask you to visit is the NHS one.

Website: NHS Test and Trace (opens in a new window)

Website: NHS Test and Trace Privacy Information (opens in a new window)


Guidance from the NHS

Website: NHS Advice for everyone on Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Guidance from the government

Website: Businesses and Workplaces NHS test and trace from GOV.UK (opens in a new window)

Website: Coronavirus (COVID-19): adult social care guidance from GOV.UK (opens in a new window)

Website: COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection from GOV.UK (opens in a new window)

Website: Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested from GOV.UK (opens in a new window)

If you’re self-isolating, Here2Help can support you during this difficult time.