There are many reasons why you may need to take a COVID-19 PCR test, such as:
- you have symptoms of COVID-19
- you’ve been in contact with someone who’s tested positive
- you’ve been asked to get a test by a local council or someone from NHS Test and Trace
- a GP or other health professional has asked you to get a test
- you’re taking part in a government pilot project
- you’ve been asked to get a test to confirm a positive result
- you’ve received an unclear result and were told to get a second test
- you need to get a test for someone you live with who has symptoms
- you’re in the National Tactical Response Group
- you need a test to travel.
How to get a PCR test
If you’re travelling abroad, you may need to get a test before you travel. You need to pay for a test privately and should not get a free test from the NHS. Visit GOV.UK for more information on tests for travel.
Free NHS testing is available across the county for individuals with symptoms or who have been advised to take a test by a medical practitioner or a public agency. We work with the Department for Health and Social Care and Public Health England to monitor the locations of PCR test sites in line with the latest case findings.
There are currently test sites in:
The local test sites are also supported by mobile testing units which are deployed on a schedule across the county each month.
Alternatively, you can order tests to be delivered to your home, which is quick and easy to do, and tests are usually delivered by Royal Mail the next day.
If you have symptoms but are unable to get tested
If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) but cannot get a test within 5 days of your symptoms first developing, you must protect your yourself and others by self-isolating for 10 days.
If your test result is positive
If your test result is positive:
- you and anyone you live with must keep self-isolating (read guidance from the NHS on how long to self-isolate for)
- you must share information about your recent contacts with the NHS Test and Trace service to help alert other people who may need to self-isolate.
If you're contacted by tracing services
If the NHS Test and Trace service or the Kent Local Tracing Partnership contact you because you have had close recent contact with someone who has coronavirus, they'll tell you what should happen next, including whether you need to self-isolate or not. If you've been asked to self-isolate by tracing services, you may be eligible for support from the Test and Trace Payment Support Scheme.
Read more advice from the NHS about what to do if you're contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service.