Coronavirus: getting a test

Updated: 2 March 2021

Coronavirus testing in Hertfordshire

Two types of Coronavirus test are being used in Hertfordshire: tests for people with symptoms (PCR tests) and tests for people with no symptoms (rapid testing). 

During the current national lockdown, rapid testing, also known as a lateral flow test, is being prioritised for key and essential workers aged 16 and over who don't have any symptoms and cannot work from home.

Further information is available via Hertfordshire County Council.  

When to get tested

If you have a recent onset of any of the symptoms of coronavirus below you must follow the Stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection and arrange to have a test to see if you have coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

Get a free NHS coronavirus test

You must get the test done in the first 5 days of having symptoms. You must also self-isolate if you cannot get a test because it’s more than 5 days since your symptoms started.

How long to stay at home

Follow the Stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection

If you have been in close contact with, but do not live with, a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 you should follow the guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person.  

  • 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.
  • If you do not have symptoms but have tested positive for COVID-19, stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days from the day the test was taken. If you develop symptoms after your test, restart your 10-day isolation period from the day the symptoms start.
  • If you live with someone with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result stay at home for 14 days. This is because you may have been exposed to the virus and could pass it on to others, even if you don’t have symptoms. 

If the Test and Trace service identifies you as someone who has had close recent contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, they will notify you that you must self-isolate in line with medical advice and the law. It is a legal requirement to self-isolate if you are identified as a contact and told to self-isolate by the Test and Trace service.

Reduce the spread of infection at home

If you have symptoms, try and stay as far away from other members of your household as possible.

It is especially important to stay away from anyone who is clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable with whom you share a household.

Avoid using shared spaces such as kitchens and other living areas while others are present and take your meals back to your room to eat.

Follow the Stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection to reduce the spread of infection in your home. 

Consider alerting people who you do not live with and have had close contact within the last 48 hours to let them know you have symptoms of COVID-19.

Test and Trace service

Following a positive test result, you will receive a request by text, email or phone to log into the Test and Trace service website and provide information about recent close contacts. If you do not have access to the internet, then you will be phoned by a contact tracer working for the NHS Test and Trace service.