Book a Covid-19 test
This page explains when to get a COVID-19 test, how to book one if you have symptoms and what a positive or negative test result means. You can also find out about the borough’s two walk-through testing sites, at Harlesden and Wembley.
When to get a test
You should only book a free Covid-19 test if you have coronavirus symptoms or have been asked to get tested by a doctor, a public health professional or by your local council.
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
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 of smell or taste (also called anosmia)
If you have any one of these, you should self-isolate for 10 days and get tested.
Everyone in your household and your support bubble will also need to self-isolate for 14 days from the first day your symptoms started, unless you get a negative test result.
When not to get a test
Do not book a free test in order to travel to another country or if your employer or travel company have asked for evidence of a negative test result. You should pay for a private test.
If someone in your household develops symptoms, then they must get tested and the rest of your household should self-isolate with them whilst they wait for the results. If you or other members of the household don’t have symptoms, then you should not get a test.
If you have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus, you should not get tested unless you have coronavirus symptoms. A negative test result does not change the amount of time that you will need to self-isolate.
If you have been abroad and are quarantining, you should not get tested unless you have coronavirus symptoms. A negative test result does not change the amount of time that you will need to quarantine.
Do not stockpile tests. If you develop symptoms in the future you will be able to book a test. There is no need to order a test for future use.
How to book a test if you have symptoms
If you have one or more coronavirus symptoms, you should book a test straight away.
The council has a certain number of appointments to give out to people of Brent each day at the Wembley and Harlesden walk-through testing sites. These can be booked by calling 020 8937 4440(the line is open from 9am-5pm, seven days a week).
The remaining appointments can be booked through the NHS website or by calling 119.
Do not call 111 as this is an urgent care service and cannot help with tests.
Testing sites in Brent
- Harlesden walk-through testing site
- Wembley walk-through testing site
- Mobile testing site – only available on selected dates
What your test result means
Negative test result
A negative result means the test did not find coronavirus.
You do not need to self-isolate if your test is negative, as long as:
Everyone you live with who has symptoms tests negative
Everyone in your support bubble who has symptoms tests negative
- You were not told to self-isolate for 14 days by NHS Test and Trace – if you were, find out what to do if you've been told you've been in contact with someone who has coronavirus
- You feel well – if you feel unwell, stay at home until you’re feeling better
If you have diarrhoea or you’re being sick, stay at home until 48 hours after they've stopped.
If you're a health or care worker, check with your employer before going back to work.
Positive test result
A positive result means you had coronavirus when the test was done.
If your test is positive, you must self-isolate.
- If you had a test because you had symptoms, keep self-isolating for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started.
- If you had a test but have not had symptoms, self-isolate for 10 days from when you had the test.
Everyone in your household and your support bubble will also need to self-isolate for 14 days from when you start self-isolating.
Read more about how long to self-isolate
NHS Test & Trace
If you test positive for coronavirus, you’ll get an email, text or call from the NHS Test and Trace service. You'll be asked where you've been recently and who you've been in close contact with.
It’s important you provide this information, so that your recent contacts can be contacted and told to self-isolate in order to stop the spread of the virus.
From 28 September, you will required by law to self-isolate if told to by NHS Test and Trace. If you break the self-isolation rules, you could be asked to pay a fine of £1,000 or increasing to up to £10,000 for repeat offences.
If you are on a lower income, cannot work from home and have lost income as a result of your self-isolation, you will be supported with a payment of £500. More details on how to access this support will be provided as soon as possible.
Please note, NHS Test and Trace employees will never ask for financial details, PINs or banking passwords over the phone, and tracers will not be making any home visits.
Find out more about NHS Test and Trace
Brent’s COVID-19 Management Plan
Read Brent’s COVID-19 Management Plan to find out the council’s plan to contain the COVID-19 virus, reduce its spread in the community and prepare in the event of a local outbreak.