Information about Covid19:
Please read our information on how we are supporting residents and businesses, as well as information on affected services.

Getting tested for COVID-19

Do I need to get tested for Coronavirus

You may be aware of some difficulties booking tests at the moment because of the capacity in laboratories across the country who are trying to process all the tests. Because there are other areas of the country with increasing numbers of cases, processing of tests in laboratories is being prioritised for those areas.

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As we currently have a low number of cases here in Cornwall, we have less national tests being made available to us.

So please only get a test if you have symptoms, and save them for those who really need them.

Most people with the virus have at least one of these symptoms:

  • A fever
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss of sense of taste or smell

if you are unsure you can use the NHS Coronavirus online symptom checker, or call 111.

If you think you have symptoms;

  • you should stay at home and isolate and only leave home to get a test. You should isolate for 10 days.
  • If you are self-isolating or in quarantine, having been in contact with somebody positive, then a negative test result does not mean you can end isolation early.

The virus can take time to develop and so a test early on does not prove that you won’t go on to develop the virus. That means you could still be at risk of spreading the disease to other people.

There is more information on isolation on the NHS website.

Find out when and how to isolate

If you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace because you have been a close contact of someone with the virus, you only need to get a test if you have symptoms.

Otherwise, you should just stay at home and isolate for 14 days.

If you get tested and it comes back negative you still need to isolate for the full 14 days, as the virus could still develop.

Workers in self-isolation are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for every day they are in isolation, as long as they meet the eligibility conditions.

Find out more about claiming sick pay

There are normally 4 mobile testing units that work across Cornwall, but you must book a test and not just turn up, as you may be turned away.

The website or 119 hold details of where the testing units are going to be, but these only appear a few hours before the morning and afternoon session of testing begins.

Service locations sometimes vary but are often available in the following areas, but as they rotate venues often, there will be differing availability.

  • Camborne
  • Falmouth
  • St. Austell
  • Bude
  • Launceston

There are also permanent testing facility available at Plymouth and Exeter.

Please only get a test if you have symptoms. 

Book a test

You should book a test via the NHS website using the link above or if you have problems using the internet, call 119.

If you have symptoms, but are unable to book a test, you can use the email address below for advice on what to do:

Please do not go to your GP surgery, or to an emergency department at a hopsital if you can't get a test. Please stay at home and continue to isolate.

After day 5 you must continue to self-isolate if you cannot get a test. You will need to self-isolate for at least 10 days following onset of symptoms and can stop self-isolation after 10 days if either: 

  • you do not have any symptoms
  • you just have a cough or changes to your sense of smell or taste – these can last for weeks after the infection has gone.