The NHS is working hard to roll out the COVID-19 vaccination programme - the biggest it has ever undertaken - at the same time as continuing to be there for everyone who needs care.
Find out more about the vaccine roll out and what you need to do to get protected.
Getting tested for Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Anyone with coronavirus symptoms can now be tested in the UK to see if they have the virus.
Who can have a test?
You can get a test to check if you have coronavirus if:
- You have any of the three main coronavirus symptoms - a new continuous cough, fever, or, a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste (anosmia).
- You have been told to have a test before you go into hospital, for example, for surgery.
- Someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms.
- Your local council asks you to get a test.
- You’re taking part in a government pilot project.
If you have coronavirus symptoms, you need to get a test done in the first 8 days of having symptoms.
Please help the NHS and only ask for a test if you or someone you live with has symptoms now.
Rapid Testing in Hertfordshire
Rapid testing for anyone without coronavirus symptoms is available across Hertfordshire.
Key and essential workers who cannot work from home during the government restrictions are especially encouraged to book a rapid test every few days to help ensure that essential services are as safe as possible.
Around 1 in 3 people with coronavirus do not show symptoms, which means they could be spreading the virus to family, friends, co-workers and into the community without realising. Knowing if you have coronavirus even though you do not have symptoms means that you can protect your loved ones and help to stop the spread of the virus.
Free rapid tests (also known as Lateral Flow Tests) are now available in two ways:
- Twice a week at a walk-in testing site: find out where your local testing site is here.
- Home test kits available to order from the government website, or to pick up from a participating local testing site or pharmacy. Please follow the link to find out which local services have them available for pick up.
Rapid tests take 10 minutes to show a result. If you've attended a testing site, your results are sent by text or email within 60 minutes.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus you cannot have a rapid test and must not go to a rapid test centre – instead please book a standard coronavirus (PCR) test here.
Symptoms of coronavirus
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- a cough
- a high temperature
- shortness of breath
- loss of sense of taste or smell
But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness.
How coronavirus is spread
The COVID-19 virus mainly spreads through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Help control the virus
To protect yourself and others , when you leave home you must:
- Wash hands – keep washing your hands regularly
- Cover face – wear a face covering over your nose and mouth in enclosed spaces (Read more)
- Make space – stay at least a metre away from people not in your household
If you are feeling unwell, get a test and do not leave home for at least 10 days. For information on what is and isn't allowed at this time please click here.
How to avoid catching or spreading germs?
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
- Put used tissues in the bin straight away.
- Wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
- Wear a face covering when you are on public transport, visiting hospital, out shopping, or are unable to maintain a 2 metre distance from people.
- Touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
Handwashing: How to wash your hands properly
What to do if you think you have any of the coronavirus symptoms
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You should stay at home and self isolate. NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do. Only call 111 if you can’t get help online and if you need to speak to someone.
- Get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible
- Stay at home and do not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test. Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also stay at home until you get your result.
- Use the NHS 111 service online or call 111 if:
- You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- Your condition gets worse
- Your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
How to self-isolate if you or someone in your household has coronavirus
If there’s a chance you could have coronavirus, you may be asked to stay away from other people (self-isolate).
- Anyone with symptoms should stay at home for at least 10 days.
- If you live with other people, they should stay at home for at least 14 days, to avoid spreading the infection outside the home.
- After 14 days, anyone you live with who does not have symptoms can return to their normal routine.
- But, if anyone in your home gets symptoms, they should stay at home for 10 days from the day their symptoms start. Even if it means they’re at home for longer than 14 days.
*This information was correct at the time it was written in 2020. To be clear, we do now have a vaccine for coronavirus, which is being rolled out to the population across the United Kingdom.