Welcome to sthelens.gov.uk

Best place to find information and services that your council provides...

COVID-19 testing and self-isolation – FAQs

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

What should I do if I have symptoms? 
Stay at home and begin to self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms start. Arrange to have a test for COVID-19 if you have not already had one. The result of the test will determine how long you must stay at home and self-isolate. Stay at home while you are waiting for a home test kit or a test site appointment. A positive test result means you must complete a 10-day isolation period. If your test is negative, you can stop self-isolating as long as you are well.

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

What does self-isolation mean?
That you stay at home and avoid contact with other household members as much as possible. Do not have visitors and do not leave the house unless it is to get a test.

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.

What should I do if I’ve received a positive test?
Stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started. You will receive a request by text, email or phone to log into the NHS Test and Trace service website and provide information about recent close contacts. If you do not have symptoms but have tested positive for COVID-19, stay at home for 10 days from the day the test was taken. This is because you can still pass the infection to others. If you do develop symptoms after your test, restart the 10-day period from the day your symptoms develop.

What should I do if I receive a negative test?
A negative result means the test did not find COVID-19 at the time the test was taken. If you have a negative test result, you can stop isolating as long as:

  • you are well
  • no-one else in your household has symptoms
  • if anyone else in your household has symptoms they have also received a negative test result
  • you have not been advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace (see the following question)
  • you have not arrived into the UK from a non-exempt country within the last 14 days

Anyone in your household who is isolating because of your symptoms can also stop isolating. If your test result is negative but you still have symptoms, you may have another virus such as a cold or flu. You should stay at home until you feel well. Seek medical attention if you are concerned about your symptoms.

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. It is crucial that you complete your 14-day self-isolation period if you’ve been identified as a contact, even if you get a negative test result. This is because you may have the virus, but it cannot yet be detected by a test, so you could unknowingly spread the virus if you leave the house. Other members of your household, however, do not need to remain in self-isolation.

I live in the same household as someone with COVID-19 – what should I do?
Stay at home for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day the first person in your house developed symptoms or, if they do not have symptoms, from the day their test was taken. If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 yourself you do not need a test. Only arrange a test if you develop COVID-19 symptoms. If you develop symptoms and your test result is positive, follow the same advice for people with COVID-19 to stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started, regardless of where you are in your 14-day period.

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. This means not leaving the house, except to go in the garden, and not meeting up with anyone from another household. Only book a test if your child has or develops symptoms. If your child has symptoms, you and everyone else in the household must then self-isolate, report your symptoms and get tested.

If my child is not in school as they've been told to self-isolate, can they still go to football at the weekend?
No, your child needs to stay at home and isolate for 14 days. This means not leaving the house, except to go in the garden, and not meeting up with anyone from another household.

My child has been sent home from school and told to self-isolate. Can they have friends round or go out to meet friends?
No, your child needs to stay at home and isolate for 14 days. This means not leaving the house, except to go in the garden, not having visitors or meeting up with anyone from another household.

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 the former Parr Stocks Fire Station, on Parr Stocks Road, Parr. 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.

Where can I get help when I’m self-isolating?
St Helens Together can help or signpost you to support. Call 01744 676767. 

If your question isn’t answered here, please refer to the government website for more information.