Testing for people with COVID symptoms

Local test sites

Local contact tracing

If you have coronavirus symptoms

Anyone with a new, continuous cough, a high temperature or a change in their sense of smell or taste should immediately self-isolate and order a test.

You need to get the test done in the first five days of having symptoms. Do not wait. Ask for the test as soon as you have symptoms.

As soon as you develop symptoms:

  • Self-isolate for at least 10 days – this applies to everyone, even if you have already had the virus. Anyone else in your household should self-isolate for 10 days from when you started having symptoms.
  • Test – report these symptoms and book a test at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus
  • You can ask for a test of someone you live with, including children of all ages, if they have coronavirus symptoms. 

Local test sites

Reading has two walk-though COVID testing sites, to help people get easier access to testing:

  • Prospect Park Car Park
  • University of Reading London Road Campus

Both sites are open seven days a week 8am to 8pm and are pedestrian access only and easily accessible without a car.

People being tested should observe social distancing, to not travel by taxi or public transport and wear a face covering including on their journey to and from the testing centre. Anyone attending an appointment at a walk-through testing site will be provided with guidance at the time of booking on getting to and from the test site safely. 

Test must be booked in advance and you can expect your test result the next day, anyone attending without an appointment will not be tested. Please book a test as soon as you start to experience Coronavirus symptoms however mild; a high temperature, a new continuous cough and/or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, to help stop the spread of the virus.

After your test please make sure you isolate and continue to isolate as per NHS requirements if you receive a positive test result, to reduce and prevent transmission of the virus in our community. Find out more about isolating on the NHS website.

The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat, which can be done by the person themselves (self-administered) or by someone else (assisted). Those being tested may experience some mild discomfort but it should not hurt.

COVID tests can only be booked via the national system:

  • Book a test online
  • By phone call 119 or
  • Via the NHS COVID-19 app, select ‘Check symptoms’

Residents who are unable to walk to the local testing sites at Prospect Park or the University of Reading London Road campus, will be able to request a home testing kit is sent to them or provided with options of their nearest drive-through test site at their time of booking a test.

Watch this video for more information on visiting a local test site (4 minutes in length).

Local contact tracing

Reading Bough Council are working with Public Health England to provide local contact tracing – an enhanced service to the National Test and Trace system, to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

How local contact tracing works

If NHS Test and Trace are unable to make contact for 24 hours, the case is passed to the local authority to follow up. Local contact tracing increases the number people we can let know they have tested positive for COVID-19, which means they can take action to help stop the spread of the virus.

Local data and community knowledge are used for a more targeted approach and local intelligence can be gathered and used to act quickly if a breakout occurs.  

The Council’s Customer Service Team will make calls to individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and who NHS Test and Trace have been unable to make contact with. Customer Service Advisors will run through a tracing questionnaire, signpost to support and help individuals identify who they have been in direct and close contact with. Direct contact is defined as; face to face contact, within one metre for one minute or longer. Close contact is defined as one to two metres distance for 15 minutes or more.  

Our local contact tracing telephone service will operate seven days a week; Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 1pm. Calls will come from a Reading number; 0118 937 3720, an outbound phone number only, if you receive a call from this number please answer. If you need to call the local contact tracing team back, ring Reading Borough Council’s general enquiries telephone number 0118 937 3787, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Local contact tracing data will be held in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018, a data sharing agreement was signed between Public Health England and Reading Borough Council September 2020 by the Strategic Director of Public Health for Berkshire.  

When to get in touch with Reading Borough Council

Contact the council via cv19notifications@reading.gov.uk or 0118 937 2707:

  • if you have been contacted about being a COVID-19 case or contact, and are not sure what to do
  • if you think there are cases in your workplace, school, organisation or other setting
  • if you have concerns about a business or premises not following COVID-19 guidance

If you have symptoms, stay home and contact NHS Test and Trace to arrange testing at www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test or call 119. The phone line will be open between 8am and 5pm on weekdays. Emails will be monitored between 8am and 5pm, 7 days a week.