There are two types of COVID-19 test:
- PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests
- LFD (lateral flow device) tests
You can read about the different tests and when to have them on this page.
You should get a PCR test if you are in one of these situations (even if you have had the COVID-19 vaccine):
- you have any of these coronavirus symptoms, even if very mild - a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, a loss or change to your sense of taste or smell
- you’ve been in contact with someone who’s tested positive (children aged under 5 who are identified as a contact will not be advised to take a PCR test unless the positive case was someone in their own household)
- you’ve been asked to get a test by a local council or someone from NHS Test and Trace
- a GP or other health professional has asked you to get a test
- you’re taking part in a government pilot project
- you’ve been asked to get a test to confirm a positive result
- you’ve received an unclear result and were told to get a second test
- you need to get a test for someone you live with who has symptoms
- you’re in the National Tactical Response Group
You should not have a PCR test if you've received a positive PCR test result in the last 90 days, unless you develop any new symptoms.
You can get a PCR test in the following ways:
- Booking an appointment for a test using the GOV.UK booking system or by calling 119.
Appointments are available at the following locations but must be booked in advance, you cannot just turn up:
- Thompson Street East car park in Stockton (walk to or park on site, open every day, 8am-6pm).
- Cranworth Street car park in Thornaby (drive through, Saturday and Sunday only, 9am-3.30pm).
- Ordering a PCR test to be sent to your home using the GOV.UK booking system
If you are booking a test because you have been told you are a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please state this when booking.
- If you are fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccination you will only need to self-isolate if your result is positive.
- If you fully vaccinated or weren’t fully vaccinated until less than 14 days ago, you will need to self isolate regardless of whether your result is positive or negative. The self-isolation period is ten days from your test or if you develop symptoms, ten days from when they started.
- If you have been identified as a close contact of a suspected case of the Omicron variant you must self isolate for ten days, regardless of your vaccination status. You will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
Even if you have had the COVID-19 vaccine you should book a COVID-19 PCR test when advised as it is possible that you became infected before you had the vaccine or before the vaccine took effect (this can take around two weeks). Though the evidence is really strong that the vaccine is effective, no vaccine is 100 per cent effective and you may still be infected with COVID-19.
Unless you are fully vaccinated or specifically advised otherwise by a Council Public Health officer or Test and Trace, please stay at home while waiting for the test and result and only leave your home to have the test. You could be infectious and it is important that you do not spread the virus. Everyone in your household should also stay at home during this time.
If you are struggling to book a test please contact us online using this form so we can help you, or call 01642 528474.
What happens next?
If you test positive you will be contacted by a Test and Trace advisor. The advisor will provide isolation advice and usually ask you to isolate for ten days. They will also ask questions about where you have been so that they can identify anyone you have been in close contact with to help stop further transmission of the virus. Test and Trace will ask all close contacts to get a PCR test. It is important that you speak to a contact tracing officer and answer their questions to help to stop further transmission of the virus.
You can get a LFD test if you have no symptoms and are not eligible for a PCR test.
About one in three people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others so you may wish to take a rapid lateral flow test on days when you’re more likely to catch or spread COVID-19, such as before you mix with people in crowded indoor places or visit people who are at higher risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19.
Please note you should not have a LFD test if you've received a positive PCR test result in the last 90 days, if you develop any new symptoms in that time you should take a PCR test.
You can get a LFD test in the following ways:
- By collecting a pack of LFD tests to do at home from any of the Borough’s libraries or at the Clarence’s Community Hub, Port Clarence Road, TS2 1TW between 10am and 12pm every Tuesday
- By collecting a pack of LFD tests to do at home from one of the Borough's Community Testing sites or taking a test at one of the Borough's Community Testing sites (see below for information about where they are and their opening times)
- By collecting a pack of LFD tests to do at home from a local pharmacy. You can find out your nearest pharmacy offering this service using this link
- By ordering a pack of LFD tests online using the GOV.UK website to be delivered to your home
If you choose one of the LFD home test options please remember to register your result online, regardless of whether it is positive or negative, following the instructions that come with the testing pack.
If you have a positive LFD test, please inform your school or workplace and book a confirmatory PCR test. The PCR test should be taken within two days of the LFD test. You can book a test online using the GOV.UK booking system or by calling 119.
In addition to being able to confirm the result of an LFD test, only PCR tests can be analysed further to provide information on the spread of the pandemic, including monitoring new variants.
Here you can read some ‘Frequently asked questions’ about LFD tests.
Community Testing Sites (LFD tests)
Anyone who lives or works in Stockton-on-Tees can drop in for an LFD test at:
- Billingham Community Centre - The Causeway, TS23 2DA (Saturday and Sunday, 10am - 6pm)
- Ingleby Barwick Community Hub - 39 The Rings, TS17 5LL (Monday and Friday 9am - 1pm)
- South Thornaby Community Centre - 112 Havilland Road, TS17 9JG (Wednesday and Thursday, 8am-4pm)
- Wellington Square, Stockton - Unit 5 TS18 1NA (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9am-5pm, Wednesdays and Saturdays 9am-12pm tests are available to take on site or take home to do, 1pm-6pm collections of tests to do at home only.)
There is no need to book, you can just turn up and tests are free. However, it is really important that you do not attend one of these sites if you have symptoms, have had a positive test result or are waiting for the results of a test.
Tests for Travelling Abroad
If you are travelling abroad, you may need to get a test before you travel. If you do you will need to use a private test provider and pay for a test. You can read the latest requirements for travel abroad on the GOV.UK website.
If you aren’t sure about which test to get you can find out more on the NHS website
You can find out about the latest rules you need to follow when returning to England on the Travel to England from another country webpage on the GOV.UK website.
Daily Contact Testing Pilot Schemes
You may have been invited to take part in a Daily Contact Testing trial. If so, you will be advised of what to do and will be provided with specific tests for that purpose. You must follow the guidance in relation to that scheme which will involve a mix of PCR and LFD tests.