As part of the Government roadmap, COVID-19 testing will be vitally important in identifying and managing the virus in the community.

Types of test

There are two types of coronavirus tests:

(Symptomatic) PCR tests

These tests are for people who are displaying symptoms.

(Asymptomatic) rapid tests, or lateral flow tests

1 in 3 people with coronavirus show no symptoms and are potentially spreading it without knowing. Rapid lateral flow tests (LFDs) enable us to find these cases and prevent the spread of infection. All people in England are now able to access twice-weekly rapid flow tests, allowing us to identify cases we would otherwise not find.

Coronavirus symptoms

It is important to remember that if you display any symptoms of COVID-19, or test positive, you must self-isolate immediately. 

The symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • A high temperature
  • A new continuous cough
  • Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

How to book a test if you have symptoms

If you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 you can book a test on the GOV.UK website or call the NHS on 119.

There is a testing centre at Twickenham Stadium, regular testing available at Old Deer Park in Richmond and an additional walk-in testing site at the St Mary’s University Broom Road sports campus in Teddington. When you book a test you will be given the option of a test centre based on nearest location to you and availability.

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

Alternatively you can request a home testing kit online. Watch a YouTube tutorial supporting the instructions on your home-testing kit.

How to test if you do not have symptoms

We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to take up the offer of twice-weekly rapid testing if they are not displaying any symptoms of COVID-19.

The following routes are available:

Workplace testing

Thousands of employers are offering testing in the workplace. This includes testing sites, where you can take a supervised test, and workplace collect, where you can pick up a box of tests to use at home. If your employer offers workplace testing, this is still the best route for you to access rapid tests. If you are a business and are interested in signing up, please apply here.

Community testing

Free, supervised, rapid lateral flow COVID-19 tests are available on weekdays from 7.30am to 4pm at the Sheen Lane Centre, and from 10am to 2pm on weekends. Bookings can be made in advance, or walk-in appointments are available from 12 noon every day.

In addition, five pharmacies in Twickenham, Barnes, Ham and Teddington, are also providing free supervised tests. Book a pharmacy test in advance.

A number of places across the borough are offering a free Community Collect service, providing take-home testing kits. This includes The Sheen Lane Centre, Twickenham Civic Centre and other local sites. 

You can also collect from St Mary’s University Broom Road sports campus site in Teddington every day from 2:30pm - 8pm. Find out more.

NHS Test and Trace sites

These are across the country and operate as symptomatic testing sites in the morning but are currently providing an afternoon collect option, where you can pick up a box of tests to use at home. Find out more.

Education

Secondary and college students are already being given tests to use at home twice a week, throughout term time and the holidays.

Through the post

If you can’t access tests through the other routes, you can order a box of order a box of tests online or by calling 119, to be delivered to your home.

Are lateral flow tests less accurate?

Lateral flow and PCR tests have different characteristics and different uses. PCR tests have higher specificity and sensitivity but require a laboratory to process results and are therefore slower and more expensive. They are therefore well suited to specific use cases, such as those with COVID-19 symptoms.

While lateral flow tests have lower sensitivity than PCR, they deliver results far faster and do not require a lab, making them more scalable. As such, they allow us to test far larger numbers of asymptomatic people and get them their test result faster than with PCR technology. This will enable us to capture a large percentage of people who are infected and infectious, but not showing symptoms and unaware of the fact that they are possibly spreading COVID-19.

Receiving your results

Symptomatic testing (for those with symptoms)

Whether you visit a testing site or use a home-testing kit, you will receive advice on what to do in order to obtain your test results. Results will be sent out by text within 48 hours from a testing site, and within 72 hours of collection of a home test.

If you or your household member tested positive, you should all continue to follow the Government's stay at home guidance.

If you receive a positive result from a PCR test, you must:

Asymptomatic testing (rapid test for those without symptoms)

Results will be sent to you via text message and/or email using contact details recorded at the registration or check-in process. The results will be communicated within a day of the test. 

If you receive a positive result from a rapid test, you must:

Invalid rapid test results

In some situations, results may come back as invalid. If this happens you will need to be re-tested. If the result is invalid a second time, you may need to be tested using a PCR test. You can order a PCR home testing kit or book an appointment on the GOV.UK website. 

NHS Test and Trace

NHS Test and Trace ensures that we can protect each other by helping to identify, contain and control the spread of the virus.

Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. This could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within two metres for more than 15 minutes.

If you are alerted by NHS Test and Trace

You may be alerted by NHS Test and Trace if you have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus.

We are supporting the NHS Test and Trace Programme with local case tracing.

The scheme has local Council staff supporting the efforts to find people who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

If the NHS system cannot make contact with a local resident after two days, their details will be passed onto our service to help find additional contacts.

While on the phone, call handlers will address any queries or questions around welfare and wellbeing as well as helping with any test and trace support payments.

Financial support for people self-isolating

The Government has announced a new payment to support people who face financial difficulty if they have been instructed to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020.

Visit our NHS Test and Trace support payments page for more details.

Updated: 09 April 2021