COVID-19 PCR testing if you have symptoms


When to get PCR a test

It's important to get a PCR test as soon as you develop any of the three main symptoms of COVID-19:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste

If you're getting a test because you have symptoms, you and anyone you live with must self-isolate immediately. 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. You can leave home to get your test, but you should observe social distancing guidance and return home as soon as you have done your test.

British Sign Language NHS Facebook page video explaining Test and Trace.

How to book a PCR test

Book a PCR test online on GOV.UK's get a coronavirus test page or call 119.

Previously employers could access the employee referral portal to refer essential workers for a PCR test, but the portal is now closed. Essential workers who have symptoms are prioritised to get a test for coronavirus through the self-referral portal on the GOV.UK website.

You can find the list of essential workers prioritised for this test on the GOV.UK website.

Where to book a PCR test

There are two ways that you can get a PCR test if you are symptomatic and both are provided free of charge. The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat, which can be done by yourself (self-administered) or by someone else (assisted).

1. Visiting a walk-through or a drive-through test site - There are a number of test centres across Surrey. When you book, you will be able to where test slots are available where you live.

Watch a YouTube video explaining the process for drive-through testing.

2. Requesting a home testing kit – Home test kits are available if you cannot get to a testing site. Priority is given for essential workers. Home test kits are posted to your home and should arrive the day after you order it. You then complete the test at home and post the kit back.

Watch a YouTube tutorial supporting the instructions on your home testing kit.

Receiving PCR test results

Your results will be sent by email and text to the email address and mobile number you provide when you register for the test. You should receive your test result within 1 to 2 days of the test, but it can take up to 3 days.

You and your household and/or support bubble must continue to self-isolate until you get your result.

If you test positive, you and your household and/or support bubble must complete your full self-isolation period if you test positive. This will include the day your symptoms started and then the next 10 full days. You should also notify your employer.

If you test negative, your symptoms may be a sign of another virus such as a cold or the flu. You can stop isolating as long as you are well, no-one else in your household and/or support bubble has symptoms or has tested positive for COVID-19, and you have not been advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. Anyone in your household and/or support bubble who is isolating because of your symptoms can also stop isolating.

Further details can be found in the government's Stay at home guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

For additional information on COVID-19 testing visit the NHS Testing for coronavirus webpage.