COVID-19 testing in Suffolk

NHS Test and Trace forms a central part of the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy.

Last updated: 4 August 2020 (reviewed daily)

NHS Test and Trace seeks to help return life more to normal, in a way that is safe and protects our NHS and social care.

The programme will allow us to trace the spread of the virus and isolate new infections and play a vital role in giving us early warning if the virus is increasing again, locally or nationally.

We all play a part in controlling the spread of COVID-19, if you have symptoms of coronavirus, please book a test without delay by visiting the NHS website.

You can request a home kit or get tested at one of our local drive-through testing sites which are located across the county.
See How do I book a test? below.

99.9% of households in Suffolk are located within 30 minutes drive (89% within 20 minutes) of one of our local drive-through testing sites.
See Where can I get tested in Suffolk? below.

If you test positive, the NHS Test and Trace service will identify anyone you have had recent close contact with and notify them if they need to isolate.

If you have any of these symptoms:

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

Then you should:

  1. Start isolating (you for 10 days, members of your household for 14 days)
  2. Book a test (Visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119)

Yes, if you develop any of these symptoms:

  • high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Visit the government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested website for full details and to apply for a test.

Alternatively, you can call 119 to book a test.

You should request a test as soon as you develop symptoms as testing needs to be carried out in the first 5 days of you having symptoms.

Symptoms are:

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

Please help the NHS by only asking for tests for people who have coronavirus symptoms now.

Visit the government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested website for full details and to apply for a test.

Alternatively, you can call 119 to book a test.

You can ask for a test:

  • for yourself, if you have coronavirus symptoms (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)

  • for someone you live with, if they have coronavirus symptoms

This service is for people in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
In England, you can ask for a test for a child who lives with you, whatever their age.

If you're asking for a test for someone else, and the person is aged 13 or over, check they're happy for you to ask for a test for them.

If you are an essential worker or if you live with someone who is an essential worker and you have symptoms of coronavirus you can access priority testing.

Visit the government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested website for full details and to apply for a test. Alternatively, you can call 119 to book a test.

Booking is easy and anyone with symptoms can ask for a test through the NHS website or by calling NHS 119.

To take your test, you may be able to choose between:

  • driving to a regional testing site
  • driving to a mobile testing unit
  • getting a home test kit

If you need to get tested, but do not have a booking, our local drive-through testing sites will still aim to offer you a test if capacity is available on the day.

If you have a test at one of our local drive-through testing sites without booking, you will be given a test registration card with a barcode. You must register this on the NHS system within 24 hours of taking the test. Failure to do so means you will not receive your test results.

If you’re an essential worker in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland, you can apply for priority testing through GOV.UK by following the guidance for essential workers.

You can also get tested through this route if you have symptoms of coronavirus and live with an essential worker. You can arrange your test through the self-referral or employer referral test booking routes.

(In addition, the NHS in Norfolk and Waveney is offering local coronavirus tests to essential workers. For more information on this testing, visit the Norfolk and Waveney CCG website.)

If you have not requested a home test kit, you may be able to choose between driving to a regional testing site or a mobile testing unit. These sites can only be accessed by car, you may not walk in.
If you need to get tested, but do not have a booking, our local drive-through testing sites will still aim to offer you a test if capacity is available on the day.

Regional testing site

A regional testing site for Suffolk and surrounding areas can be found at the London Road Park and Ride, Copdock, Ipswich. It is open from 8am to 7pm, every day.

Mobile testing units in Suffolk

Throughout July 2020, the operation of our mobile testing units (MTUs) in Suffolk will be handed over from the military to G4S, who already run our regional testing site at Copdock.

MTUs are available at a number of locations across the county and are particularly useful for those who cannot easily access the regional testing site at Copdock.

99.9% of households in Suffolk can access a testing site within a 30 minute drive.

Scheduled visits for mobile testing units in Suffolk are below - listed in alphabetical order. Dates are for 2020 and subject to change, please check back regularly.

Town

Location

Date

 Beccles Beccles Hospital, NR34 9NQ Saturday 8 August
  Beccles Hospital, NR34 9NQ Saturday 15 August
 Bury St Edmunds Disused recycling centre, Rougham Hill, IP33 2RW Friday 7 August
 

Disused recycling centre, Rougham Hill, IP33 2RW

Tuesday 11 August
 

Disused recycling centre, Rougham Hill, IP33 2RW

Friday 14 August
 Eye

Hartismere Hospital, IP23 7BH

Sunday 9 August
 

Hartismere Hospital, IP23 7BH

Wednesday 12 August
 

Hartismere Hospital, IP23 7BH

Sunday 16 August
 Framlingham

Framlingham College Leisure Centre, College Road, IP13 9EY

Thursday 6 August
 

Framlingham College Leisure Centre, College Road, IP13 9EY

Sunday 9 August
  Framlingham College Leisure Centre, College Road, IP13 9EY Thursday 13 August
  Framlingham College Leisure Centre, College Road, IP13 9EY Sunday 16 August
 Halesworth North Suffolk Skills Centre, IP19 8PY Saturday 8 August
  North Suffolk Skills Centre, IP19 8PY Tuesday 11 August
  North Suffolk Skills Centre, IP19 8PY Saturday 15 August
 Haverhill  Meadows Car Park, Ehringshausen Way, CB9 0JU  Thursday 6 August
  Meadows Car Park, Ehringshausen Way, CB9 0JU  Monday 10 August
  Meadows Car Park, Ehringshausen Way, CB9 0JU  Thursday 13 August
 Leiston Leiston Leisure Centre, IP16 4LS Thursday 6 August
  Leiston Leisure Centre, IP16 4LS Monday 10 August
  Leiston Leisure Centre, IP16 4LS Thursday 13 August
 Lowestoft Water Lane Leisure Centre, Rotterdam Road, NR32 2PJ Friday 7 August
  Water Lane Leisure Centre, Rotterdam Road, NR32 2PJ Monday 10 August
  Water Lane Leisure Centre, Rotterdam Road, NR32 2PJ Wednesday 12 August
  Water Lane Leisure Centre, Rotterdam Road, NR32 2PJ Friday 14 August
 Sudbury Great Cornard Sports Centre, Head Lane, CO10 0JU  Saturday 15 August

The Suffolk Resilience Forum, comprising of the Suffolk’s NHS, Emergency and Public Services, is continually planning for new dates and sites.

Regional mobile testing units (outside of Suffolk)

Town

Location

Date

 Attleborough Connaught Hall, Station Road, NR17 2AS Friday 7 August
  Connaught Hall, Station Road, NR17 2AS Friday 14 August
 Clacton-on-Sea Hazelmere Road Car Park, Holland-on-Sea, Essex, CO15 5HU Friday 7 August
  Hazelmere Road Car Park, Holland-on-Sea, Essex, CO15 5HU Tuesday 11 August
  Hazelmere Road Car Park, Holland-on-Sea, Essex, CO15 5HU Thursday 13 August
 Great Yarmouth Great Yarmouth, NR30 1EN Thursday 6 August
  Great Yarmouth, NR30 1EN Sunday 9 August
  Great Yarmouth, NR30 1EN Friday 14 August
 Thetford Tanner St South Car Park, Tanner Street, IP24 2BQ Sunday 9 August
  Tanner St South Car Park, Tanner Street, IP24 2BQ Wednesday 12 August
  Tanner St South Car Park, Tanner Street, IP24 2BQ Sunday 16 August
 Watton Kittell Close Car Park, Kittell Close, IP25 6DA Tuesday 11 August

When you first develop symptoms and order a test, you will be encouraged to alert the people that you have had close contact with in the 48 hours before your symptoms started.

If any of those close contacts are people you live with, they should start a period of self-isolate for 14 days from when your symptoms started.

If any of those close contacts are co-workers, you may wish to ask your employer to alert those co-workers. The close contacts do not need to self-isolate while you are waiting on your test result but they must:

  • avoid individuals who are at high-risk of contracting COVID-19, for example, because they have pre-existing medical conditions, such as respiratory issues
  • take extra care in practising social distancing and good hygiene and in watching out for symptoms

This will mean they are better prepared if you have a positive test result and if they receive a notification from the NHS Test and Trace service explaining they need to self-isolate.

You must continue to self-isolate, for 10 days from the date you first developed symptoms.

If you have a positive test result for COVID-19, the NHS Test and Trace service will ask you to share information about your close recent contacts.

By providing this vital information, which will be held in strict confidence, you will play your part in the national effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.

You will be advised how to provide this information when you receive your test results.

If you work in – or have recently visited or attended – one of the following settings, the contact tracing process will be passed to local public health experts

  • a health or care setting, for instance a hospital or care home
  • a prison or other secure establishment
  • a school for children with special needs
  • any setting where there is a risk of a local outbreak

The public health experts will (where necessary) contact the relevant manager of the setting to ensure that appropriate action is taken to prevent an outbreak

More information is available on the NHS Test and Trace website.

If you have been informed that you are a ‘contact’ you must immediately self-isolate at home for 14 days from the date of your last contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.  It is very important that you follow this advice even if you feel well, as symptoms can take up to 14 days to appear from your last contact with someone who has coronavirus and you can infect others even if you don’t develop symptoms.

You should only order a test if you develop symptoms. If you do not develop symptoms, you should continue to self-isolate for the 14 day period.

If you develop symptoms, order a test, and if you receive a negative result, you must continue to complete the period of isolation (up to 14 day self-isolation), but your household does not need to continue to self-isolate. 

If you or anyone tested in your household has a positive result, you should continue to self-isolate in line with the national guidance. 

You must self-isolate for 14 days from the date they developed symptoms.

You do not need to request a test unless you develop symptoms yourself.

If you develop symptoms, you must get a test.

Visit the government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested website for full details and to apply for a test. Alternatively, you can call 119 to book a test.

If you do not develop symptoms during the 14 days, you can end your self-isolation on day 15.

If you have been in close contact with somebody who has tested positive, in the 48 hours before they developed symptoms or up to 10 days after, you will be contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service who will advise you if you need to self-isolate.

NHS Test and Trace will contact you by phone, email or text.

You will need to stay at home (self-isolate) for 14 days from the day you were last in contact with the person who has tested positive, as it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear.

If you develop symptoms during the 14 day period, you must arrange to be tested.

To trace the contacts of people with COVID-19, NHS Test and Trace needs to collect personally identifiable information.

The information about people with COVID-19 comes from the hospital and laboratory test reports sent to Public Health England. These people are either sent a text message or email or are called by someone working for NHS Test and Trace Service and asked to confirm or provide their:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • sex
  • NHS Number
  • home postcode and house number
  • telephone number and email address
  • COVID-19 symptoms, including when they started and their nature

They are also asked to provide the contact details of anyone they have been in close contact with.

The people who are close contacts of someone with COVID-19 are then either sent a text message or email or are called by someone working for NHS Test and Trace Service and asked to confirm or provide:

  • their full name, date of birth and contact details
  • details of any COVID-19 symptoms they may have had

This information is used to provide them with advice on self-isolation and how to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.

The NHS Test and Trace service will not:

  • ask for bank details or payments
  • ask for details of any other accounts, such as social media
  • ask you to set up a password or PIN number over the phone
  • ask you to call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087

For more information, visit the NHS Test and Trace website.

 

No, only individuals who are identified as close contacts of a positive case need to self-isolate.

If you are the only person in your household who has been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case, other members of your household do not need to self-isolate with you.

However, if you develop symptoms during your period of isolation you should request a test and at that point members of your household will also need to self-isolate for 14 days.

If you suspect that a care home resident has coronavirus symptoms, you should contact your local Health Protection Team (HPT) if:

  • you suspect your care home has a new coronavirus outbreak
  • it has been 28 days or longer since your last case and you have new cases

Your HPT will provide advice and arrange the first tests.

In all other situations you can apply for test kits online.

new online portal that makes it easy for care homes to arrange deliveries of coronavirus test kits has been launched by the government (12 May).

As the national testing capacity has increased, the government is prioritising testing for care homes and other areas with the greatest need.

All symptomatic and asymptomatic care home staff and residents in England are now eligible for testing.  Testing has now been extended to all CQC registered adult care homes.

Read about applying for coronavirus tests for a care home.

For more guidance on coronavirus testing for care providers, visit the Adult and Community Services providers coronavirus advice page

 

If you live in Suffolk and need urgent help during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you can call the Home, But Not Alone phoneline.

This emergency phoneline is for people who:

  • do not have support available from friends, family or neighbours
  • are struggling for food, medicines or other essential supplies
  • are feeling lonely and isolated

If any of these apply to you, call 0800 876 6926 (available 9am to 5pm every day, including weekends).

 

You can still use the Home, But Not Alone phoneline if you can't hear or speak on the phone. Download the Relay UK app and dial 18001 then 0800 876 6926.

 

More information about local support if you are isolating or shielding can be found here