Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Getting a test

Coronavirus (COVID-19) tests are available at testing sites in Thurrock or by post.

You can ask for a test in Thurrock if either:

  • you work in a Thurrock school or are a pupil in Thurrock
  • you're in a household with school or college students
  • you're in a household or 'bubble' with a school employee or pupil
  • you live in Thurrock and still have to attend your workplace
  • you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19

Tests are provided by the NHS and are free. You'll be given the type of test that is sent to a lab (called a 'PCR' test), except where we say below that a rapid swab test (called a 'lateral flow' test) will be used.

Most people get their results the next day, but it can take up to 3 days. Go to NHS: your coronavirus test result for details.

If you work in a school or are a pupil in Thurrock

All Thurrock school children and those who work in a Thurrock school can get a one-off test before going back to school. Follow the instructions under 'How to get tested', below.

If you're in a household with school or college students

All households with primary school, secondary school or college-aged children and young people can get tested twice a week. To order a home test kit, go to GOV.UK: Schools testing – order rapid lateral flow home test kits.

If your lateral flow test gives a positive result, you will need to get it confirmed by having a PCR test. You can do this by following the instructions under 'How to get tested', below.

If you're in a household or 'bubble' with a school employee or pupil

If you live in Thurrock and are a member of a household, childcare bubble or support bubble with a school employee or pupil, you can get tested twice a week. Where possible, if you are working, you should get your tests through your employer. Otherwise you can get lateral flow tests:

If your lateral flow test gives a positive result, you will need to get it confirmed by having a PCR test. You can do this by following the instructions under 'How to get tested', below.

If you still have to attend your workplace

If you are working and still have to attend your workplace, or several workplaces, you should get tested. It's very important you get a test once every week, even if you don't have symptoms of COVID-19.

You should only get a test for yourself, not for others in your household unless they are working and have to attend their workplace.

If you are a childminder whose home is an essential workplace where you come into contact with others, or if you are a voluntary carer making daily visits to a vulnerable person, you should get a test. If you are an employee of a local council and still attend your workplace, you should get a test. If you work at a school, you should first check whether the school is providing a test for you.

Do not get a test if you've already had a COVID-19 positive test in the past 12 weeks as it may give a false positive result.

You can still get tested if you've been asked to self-isolate for 10 days by the NHS Test and Trace Programme or by our own Public Health team, but you must complete your period of self-isolation, even if you test negative.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19

If you have any of the following symptoms, you should get a test as soon as possible.

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a 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)
  • a 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

Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.

If you or anyone you live with has any of these symptoms, you must stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.

How to get tested

You can either:

  • go to a drop-in testing site
  • book a drive-through or walk-through test
  • ask to get a test by post

You may not be able to order a weekly test by post, but you should try asking for one if you're unable to attend a test site in person.

Get a test at a drop-in site

You can get a drive-through test at the car park in Crown Road, Grays, without booking online.

Drop-in between between 9am and 3pm on any day during the week or at weekends.

Google Maps directions to the car park in Crown Road, Grays.

Book a test at a drive-through or walk-through site, or by post

Go to the government's website, below, to:

  • book a drive-through test at sites in Corringham
  • book a walk-through test at sites in Grays or Orsett Heath
  • ask to get a test by post

GOV.UK: get a coronavirus test

You will be asked a series of questions and must be able to provide a mobile phone number.

If you don't have symptoms and must attend your workplace, select 'No' to having symptoms and 'No' to being asked to get a follow-up test. Next, for a drive-through or walk-through test:

  • select 'No' for 'Is the person who needs a test part of a trial or government pilot project?'
  • select 'My local council or health protection team has asked me (or someone I live with) to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms'

For a test by post:

  • select 'Yes' for 'Is the person who needs a test part of a trial or government pilot project?'
  • select 'The person is taking part in community testing'

Places where you can get a test are listed within the booking system. You can choose your preferred place, but book early for the same day as spaces may be limited.

Next-day appointment slots for sites in Thurrock are usually made available during the evening before. If you need to make a booking for the next day, it may be best to try after 8pm, otherwise you may be offered a booking somewhere further away.

Testing sites are open on weekdays and weekends.

Self-isolating

You don't have to self-isolate just because you've taken a test, but you must self-isolate immediately if any of the NHS's reasons for self-isolating apply to you. If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you must only leave your home to get a test.

For guidance, go to NHS: when to self-isolate and what to do.

If you are employed or self-employed on a low income and have to self-isolate at home, you may be entitled to a one-off Test and Trace Support payment.