Testing for people with symptoms (PCR tests)

If you have any symptoms of Covid-19, you must self-isolate immediately and get a coronavirus test.

The main symptoms are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result. Please only leave your home to have a test.

You will be given the option to order a home test to be sent to you or to book to book an appointment at a symptomatic (PCR) test site. For the fastest result, we suggest you book a test at a test site.

There are currently three sites in Brighton & Hove:

  • Disused School Site - junction of Mile Oak Road and High Street, Portslade, BN41 2PG
  • Preston Park, Preston Lane, BN1 6SD
  • East Brighton park Tennis Courts, BN2 5UA

These sites are open from 8am until 1.30pm every day.

You can find full details about testing for people with symptoms on the NHS website

Testing for people without symptoms (LFD tests)

Everyone in England without symptoms is now able to access free rapid tests.

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.

Rapid tests using lateral flow devices (LFD) are easy to use. The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat and gives results in 30 minutes, so those who test positive can self-isolate immediately and avoid passing the virus on to others. 

We recommend that everyone carries out twice weekly symptom free testing, especially if you cannot work from home or if you work closely with other people, especially vulnerable people.

How to get a symptom-free test

There are different ways to take up the offer of twice weekly symptom-free testing. Please use the route that’s right for you.

Pick up a test pack to take at home

If you’re happy to do the test yourself at home, you can collect tests from various locations across the city.

More sites will be available in the next few weeks.

There’s no need to book, just find a site near you, check the opening hours and collect your tests. You will usually be given two boxes of seven tests.

Within the test kit you will receive instructions on how to take the test, how to record the test result and what to do if you test positive. You should record both positive and negative results.

Watch a video showing how to do a Covid-19 symptom-free test at home

Order test packs online

If you can’t get to a collect point or access tests through the other routes, you can order a box of home test kits online or through 119, which will be delivered to your home.

Book an assisted symptom-free test

Tests can also be taken at participating community pharmacies across Sussex or at a dedicated testing centre at Hove Town Hall. These tests are taken under supervision of a member of staff who will then process your result for you on site within 30 minutes. 

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.

Get a test through your workplace

Many 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 the best route for you to access rapid tests.

Other testing routes

Testing is still available for specific settings such as schools, colleges, universities, and the care sector.

Secondary and college students, as well as school staff, are being given tests to use at home twice a week, throughout term time and the holidays. Children under 12 should not be tested using an LFD test. 

Watch a video showing how to test your child for Covid-19 at home

More information is available on the GOV.UK website.

If you receive a positive result from a LFD you must take a follow-up PCR test within 2 days

All symptom-free Covid tests taken using a lateral flow device (LFD) which show a positive result should now be followed-up with a PCR test as soon as possible and no later than 2 days after the positive LFD result. For example, if you test positive on Monday, you have until the end of Wednesday to get your follow-up PCR test.

If you receive a positive LFD test result, you and your household must self-isolate immediately and you will need to book a follow-up PCR test within two days. While waiting for your follow-up result you and your household should follow the stay at home guidance.

If your follow-up test is negative, you and your household can stop self-isolating.

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.

Support if you need to self-isolate

If you are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace:

If you’re not legally required to self-isolate, but you are the parent or guardian of a child who has been told to self-isolate, you could also be eligible for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment or a discretionary payment.

Everyone can also get advice or support from our community hub