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COVID-19 testing – FAQs

Who can get tested?
Only people with coronavirus symptoms should get a test. Remember to stay at home and isolate from others.

What are the coronavirus symptoms?
The main symptoms are:

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

I have COVID-19 symptoms. How do I get a test?
Book a test online at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test. if you do not have internet access, call 119 – lines are open from 7am to 11pm. 

There are no tests available online. Should I call the helpline instead?
No, please continue to try again later as there are no extra tests available through the helplines and appointment slots are released by the national team throughout the day, depending on available lab capacity. The council, your GP or your pharmacy cannot provide any additional slots as this is a national process. Please do not attend St Helens Urgent Treatment Centre or A&E as they also cannot provide tests.

I can’t find a suitable appointment slot. What should I do?
If you can’t find a suitable time or location for your test, please try again in a few hours as additional slots are released during the day.

Can I just turn up at a test centre and wait?
No, please do not turn up at a drive or walk-in centre without an appointment. Remember to stay isolated if you have symptoms and book a test from home. Once you've booked, you'll receive a QR code or number that you'll need to show at the centre – you may be turned away without it. If you believe you've booked but haven't received a code/number, please phone 119 to check. 

Can I contact my local councillor or MP to get me a test?
No, there are no tests available from the local council, only through the national route. Remember to stay isolated if you have symptoms and book a test from home.

I don’t have symptoms and I have been told to isolate as I am a contact. How do I get a test?
You do not need to get a test unless you develop symptoms but you must remain isolated for 14 days.

My child has been sent home from school to isolate for 14 days. What do I need to do?
Your child needs to stay at home and isolate for 14 days and you only book a test if your child develops symptoms.

My symptoms are getting worse. What do I do?
If your symptoms worsen, such as you feel breathless and it’s getting worse or you feel you cannot cope with the symptoms at home, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service or ring 111.

Where are test centres in St Helens Borough?
There is a test centre at Haydock Park Racecourse and mobile testing units will be in place periodically and where a surge in cases drives the need for further support in that area. You will be told which centres have appointments available at the time you book a test.

Is there a way I can be prioritised because of my specific circumstances?
All bookings are via the national website (or 119) and there is no prioritisation.

What should I do if someone I work with is showing COVID-19 symptoms?
Tell them to go home, isolate and book a test.