Test and trace

Testing 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 through the national system.

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

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

  • Battle Street Car Park
  • University of Reading, Car Park 11, Whiteknights Campus (accessible from Pepper Lane)

Both sites are open seven days a week 8am to 6pm and are pedestrian access only and easily accessible without a car. You need an appointment and should book via the national system.  

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

Regular rapid flow testing if you don’t have symptoms of Covid-19

Everyone in England can access free, regular, rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) tests.

1 in 3 people with coronavirus don’t have any symptoms and can spread the virus without knowing. Twice-weekly rapid testing enables us to find these cases and prevent the spread of infection.  We’re asking everyone to get into the habit of taking regular tests.

There are several ways to access regular testing.

Workplace testing

Thousands of employers are offering testing in the workplace. This includes testing sites, where you can take a supervised test, and workplace collect, where you can pick up a box of tests to use at home. If your employer offers workplace testing, this is the best route for you to access rapid tests.

Community testing

Local councils have community testing sites where you can go to take a supervised test. You can find your nearest site on the NHS test finder or book a test at Reading’s test centre (Reading Town Hall).

Our community testing centres do not currently have home test kits for collection, but we hope to offer this service in future.

NHS Test & Trace sites

Sites across the country offer testing for people who are symptomatic in the morning, and the option to collect home test kits in the afternoon. You can find your nearest site on the NHS test finder.

Pharmacy collection

Thousands of pharmacies across England have signed up to offer pharmacy collect. When launched, you will be able to go to a participating pharmacy and pick up a free box of tests to use at home. The NHS test finder allows you to search pharmacies near you that offer pharmacy collect. Over the coming weeks more and more pharmacies will be signing up.

Educational testing

Secondary and college students are being given tests to use at home twice a week, throughout term time and the holidays.

Order tests to your home

For people who can’t access tests through the other routes, you can order a box of tests online or through 119, which will be delivered to your home.

After your test

If you take a supervised test at a test site, your result will be recorded.  If you test at home, you should register your results online or by calling 119.

If your result is negative you do not need to do anything. Continue to take a regular test twice a week.

If your result is positive, you should isolate immediately. If you took your test at home you should book a PCR test to confirm the result through the national booking system online  or by calling 119.

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.