Community testing

Key information

Lateral flow tests are good at identifying people who don't have symptoms and who may have infection when they may not otherwise have been picked up. However, they do not pick up all infections. This is why following a negative result, it is important that people continue to follow all national guidelines regarding social distancing, wearing face coverings and washing their hands regularly.


To take a test at our community test centres in Coventry, you must:

  • Be free of any symptoms of COVID-19. Anyone with symptoms should book a test at one of our five symptomatic NHS testing centres in the city. Visit the NHS website or phone 119 to do this.
  • Be a resident of Coventry, or work in the city
  • Be over the age of 2. Anyone between 2 and 17 will need to have a parent or appropriate adult with them.
  • Not have been instructed to isolate by NHS Test and Trace

Step 1: Getting tested for COVID-19 without symptoms

Around one in three people with COVID-19 don’t have any symptoms but can still pass it on. Although you might not be showing any symptoms, you could still be carrying the virus without knowing and putting others lives at risk. Going for regular tests is an opportunity to control COVID-19, save lives and get back to a more normal way of living.

Testing is not mandatory. We are hoping that many people will recognise the benefits of testing in reducing the transmission of the virus and will choose to have a test, so that the circulation of the virus in Coventry will decrease going forward.

All residents and workers who consent will be tested using lateral flow tests which can rapidly turn around results within an hour without the need for processing the swabs in a lab. The test itself is a self-administered swab to the back of your mouth and nostril.

Testing after your vaccination

Even after you’ve had the vaccine, you should still go for regular tests as you can still spread the virus unknowingly. You should also continue to follow measures like social distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene and wear a face-covering where required.

Booking a test

No bookings are required for getting tested; you can just turn up at a time at the centre that is most convenient for you. You will be greeted by a member of staff to confirm eligibility, and they will talk you through the full process.

To save time, please bring a smartphone to register. If you don't have one, there will be a tablet available to use.

Benefits of taking part

Community testing will provide a more accurate picture of the virus in Coventry. The testing will find people who do not have any symptoms but have the virus. By supporting these people to isolate, we can reduce the number of people they spread it to and ultimately reduce the transmission rate in the city. The more we reduce the transmission rate, the quicker we will be able to get closer to a more normal way of life and do the things we all enjoy, such as meeting family and friends.

By visiting a community test site, it means your test will be supervised by a trained test operator who will guide you through the process. If you’d prefer to collect home-test kits from a test site to do it yourself at home instead, watch this video to make sure you’re taking your test properly.

Step 2: Results

Result turnaround time

The lateral flow tests take up to an hour to get a result.  These are point of care tests meaning the result can be processed at the testing centre and does not have to be sent away to a lab. Typically, we are seeing results within 30 minutes, however, results may take longer to be sent to some people, so it could take a few hours to receive the results after you leave the test centre. 

Accuracy of lateral flow tests

The Department of Health and Social Care has said extensive clinical evaluation have shown the tests are accurate and sensitive enough to be used for asymptomatic testing in the community. However, no test is 100% accurate and there’s still a chance you can be infectious, even if you test negative. Therefore, following a negative result, it is important that people continue to follow all national guidelines regarding social distancing, wearing face coverings and washing their hands regularly.

Negative test result

A negative test result does not mean you can be complacent. It’s still important to social distance, wear a face covering when required and wash your hands regularly. It’s also important to remember that as with all tests, there are false negatives and the test may not pick up that you have the infection.


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 if soap and water are not available.
  • Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • Space – Stay at least 2 metres away from anyone you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble

Step 3: Confirmation of a positive test result

You will receive your result from NHS Test and Trace, via text message and email.

It remains essential that anyone who tests positive self-isolates immediately, as must other members of their household, while they get a confirmatory PCR test within two days. Visit the NHS website or phone 119 to book your confirmatory PCR test.

Contact tracing will be triggered by a positive lateral flow test result but will be stopped automatically after receipt of a negative confirmatory PCR test, if the PCR was taken within two days of the positive lateral flow test result.

Using public transport after a positive test result

You should take all steps possible to not come into contact with others, this includes avoiding public transport. You would need to either walk home or arrange for someone from your household to collect you. Other members of your household will also need to isolate for 10 days.

Financial support after a positive test result

Eligible individuals who test positive and their contacts will be entitled to the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment in the same way as a regular swab test through NHS Test and Trace. Find out about the Government's eligibility criteria and how to apply.

NHS Test and Trace App

Positive results from tests will be collected by NHS Test and Trace, and published as part of the daily case numbers, including how many positive cases are detected with this new method of testing.

NHS COVID-19 app users should input their results into the app.

Timescale of community testing

Community testing will continue to be provided until September 2021. This form of testing will be an important tool alongside the roll-out of vaccines to help us to make the decisions locally to keep our communities as safe as possible and to hopefully return to a more normal way of life.

Regular testing

We recommend going for regular tests. The test will give you peace of mind if negative and help protect you and your close contacts if detecting a positive case to enable you to isolate. By testing regularly, we will also gain useful data about the trends in the local prevalence of COVID-19 and help us to take actions to keep our communities safe.

Any repeat tests should not be within 5 days of your last negative test. And if you test positive you should not take another Lateral Flow test for 90 days.

Test stock

We have the capacity to issue thousands of community tests each day.

Cost of testing

All the COVID-19 tests that are part of community testing are free.

Alternative testing options

There are lots of testing options available, depending on your individual situation. NHS England’s site finder also allows you to search for pharmacies and testing centres near you that offer a collection of home-test kits. For people who can’t access tests through the other routes, you can also order a box of tests online through LFD direct or through 119, which will be delivered to your home.

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