Community testing for people without symptoms of coronavirus
Anyone over the age of 18 who lives or works in Sussex can book symptom-free tests at participating community pharmacies across Sussex or at a dedicated testing centre at Hove Town Hall.
One in three people with coronavirus show no symptoms and could be spreading it without knowing. Twice weekly rapid testing will help find these cases and prevent the spread of infection.
When you book you will be given the option to choose where you get your test depending on availability. Appointments must be booked in advance. We recommend you book a test twice a week with three days between tests.
These tests are taken under supervision of a member of staff who will then process your result on site.
Who can book these tests
To book an assisted symptom-free test you must:
- be aged 18 or over
- not have any COVID-19 symptoms (fever, new persistent cough, or loss of taste or smell). If you have any of these symptoms you must self-isolate immediately and book a COVID-19 test through the NHS or call 119
- live or work in West Sussex, East Sussex or Brighton & Hove
If you have previously tested positive for Covid-19 you are not eligible for community testing for 90 days. If you develop symptoms you should instead book a PCR test.
About symptom-free tests
The assisted testing process takes around 10 minutes and you should get results within 30 minutes to two hours of leaving the site in most cases.
The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat, which will be done by the person themselves. The test will then be analysed by a member of staff on-site.
If you don’t feel confident taking the test by yourself at home, or you are taking one for the first time, we would recommend booking an assisted test where staff can answer any questions you may have.
You will not need to isolate while waiting for the results of the symptom-free test. You will only need to isolate if you are notified you have tested positive or if you develop any symptoms.
Before you take your first test you will need to register your personal details so that results can be shared with you. To save time, you can register online to create an NHS account in advance.
If you receive a positive test result
If you receive a positive LFD test result from an assisted test you will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace. You and your household must self-isolate immediately. You could be fined if you do not do this.
You will also need to take a follow-up PCR test within 2 days of getting your test. For example, if you test positive on Monday, you have until the end of Wednesday to get your follow-up PCR test.
While waiting for your follow-up PCR test result you and your household should follow the stay at home guidance. If you receive a negative follow-up PCR test result, you and your household can stop self-isolating.
However, you and your household must continue to self-isolate if:
- the PCR test result is positive
- you choose not to take a follow-up PCR test
- your follow-up PCR test was taken more than 2 days after the positive LFD test result
Advice for travelling home if you receive a positive test result
If you receive a positive test result you must:
- travel home immediately, wearing a face covering
- travel home in your own vehicle or by walking or cycling, wherever possible
- arrange for a member of your household to pick you up if it is not possible to travel in your own vehicle or by walking or cycling
If you receive a negative test result
If you test negative, this does not completely rule out infection with COVID-19, as there can be false negative results. You should continue to follow the national guidance and preventative measures currently recommended for stopping the spread of coronavirus.
To protect yourself and others, you must remember: Hands. Face. Space.
- Hands – wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water often, and as soon as you get home. Use hand sanitiser or gel if soap and water are not available
- Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult and where you will meet people you do not normally meet
- Space – stay at least two metres away from anyone you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble
Support available if you need to self-isolate
If you are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace:
- you may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 through the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme
- you can get free delivery from a local pharmacy during your 10-day isolation period if you have no other way to get your medicines. You will need your NHS Test and Trace Account ID when requesting the service.
You can also get advice or support from our community hub. They may be able to help you with:
- food, shopping or medicine deliveries
- advice around money, benefits or debt
- daily living activities
- feelings of loneliness and social isolation
Other symptom-free testing in Brighton & Hove
There are different ways to take up the offer of twice-weekly symptom-free testing in Brighton & Hove including collecting home test kits or ordering them online. Please use the route that’s right for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Read more about symptom-free testing and find answers to frequently asked question on the Sussex Symptom-free Community Testing programme FAQs page.