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Luton Borough Council

Coronavirus testing


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Rapid testing - if you have no symptoms

Free community-wide rapid testing (lateral flow testing) is available to anyone that:

  • is not displaying any Coronavirus symptoms
  • lives, works and studies in Luton (unless you are self-isolating)

We're encouraging everyone to get a rapid test on a twice weekly basis.

Rapid testing is being delivered in partnership with the council and NHS Test and Trace. More information is available on the government’s website.

If you've tested positive, have COVID-19 symptoms, or have been asked to self-isolate, you should not attend the rapid test centre or pharmacy to have a rapid test or collect home test kits.
If this is the case and you require testing you should book a normal PCR test online at or by calling 119.

Rapid testing centres

You don’t need to book – just ‘walk up’ at one of our rapid testing centres which are open 8am-8pm, seven days a week:

The testing centres are safe and social distancing measures are in place at all times.

It takes less than 15 minutes to self- administer the test and you will get your result within 45 minutes by text or email.

Test and collect

You can now collect home test kits from the rapid testing centres, during their normal opening times. You'll be offered the opportunity to be shown how to complete the test by one of the test centre personnel.
On request you'll be provided with two boxes of test kits to self-administer at home or, if you can prove that you're collecting for a larger household, you can be issued with four boxes.
Home test kits can also be collected at the PCR test centres from 1.30 to 7pm:
  • Vicarage Road Car Park (University Campus) Vicarage Street, LU1 3HZ
  • Hockwell Ring Community Centre, Mayne Avenue, Leagrave, LU4 9LB
  • Bury Park Community Centre, 161-161b Dunstable Road, LU1 1BW
  • Luton Airport Test Centre, Mid Stay Car Park, LU2 9QT
Home test kits can also be collected from two Luton pharmacies:
Harris Pharmacy
165a/b Dunstable Road, LU1 1BW
Tel: 01582 400 851
  • Monday-Friday: 9am to 7pm
  • Saturday: 9.30am to 1pm
  • Sunday: Closed
Westbourne Pharmacy
198b Dunstable Road, LU4 8JJ
Tel: 01582 419 432
  • Monday-Friday: 9am to 9pm
  • Saturday: 9.30am to 6pm
  • Sunday: 10am – 4pm
Please see the video below of Lucy Hubber, Director of Public Health, demonstrating how to use a rapid test.

Please watch this YouTube tutorial for more information on how to use the home tests.

If your home rapid test is positive you should:
  • either call 119 or book a regular PCR test online
  • self-isolate and only go out to have the PCR test
  • self-isolate until the results are received from the PCR test
If that test is positive then you need to complete the 10 days isolation period. If it comes back negative then you can stop self-isolating.
If you're testing at home you'll need to register your results online or by calling 119.

Ordering rapid tests online

If your children are school age, you will be eligible to order home kits from the government website or by calling 119, to be sent to your home.

You can order kits to test your household, childcare bubble or support bubble if at least one member:

A test kit contains seven tests. You can order one test kit per household each day.

A flat-share or house-share counts as a household.

Who this service is for?

You can only use this service if:

  • you’re 18 or older
  • you live in England
  • you do not have coronavirus symptoms
  • you have not been told to self-isolate
  • you or someone in your household, childcare or support bubble attends or works at a:
    • primary school
    • nursery
    • secondary school
    • sixth form college
    • college
  • you cannot get tests from a test site or your work

School children testing

Secondary school and college students will now be tested twice a week, receiving three initial tests at school or college before moving to twice weekly home testing. Kits will be available from each school.

Primary school children will not be regularly tested if they have no symptoms (asymptomatic) due to low levels of transmission between younger aged children. They will however continue to need a PCR test if they have symptoms.

Mobile testing bus

For a trial period a mobile COVID-19 rapid testing bus will be available in areas of Luton. We've teamed up with London Luton Airport to provide a mobile rapid (lateral) flow testing facility which can be driven to and parked at convenient locations throughout the town.

No tickets or bus passes are required! If you live, work or study in Luton and have no COVID-19 symptoms you can come along and have a rapid test - it’s quick, easy and safe. You'll receive your results by text or email within 45 minutes.

The bus has been in operation since 4 March in various locations across the town, the bus operates between 10am and 4.30pm.

Read about the step aboard the route C19 mobile testing bus.

Future dates and venues for April will be published as soon as confirmed.

Frequently asked questions

What is a rapid test (lateral flow test) and how does it differ to the current test you book online?

People who do not have COVID-19 symptoms (and are not self-isolating) can take a lateral flow test which is designed to detect the presence or absence of coronavirus by applying a swab or saliva sample to the device’s absorbent pad.

The sample runs along the surface of the pad, showing at the end a visual positive or negative result dependant on the presence of the virus (similar to a pregnancy test).

These tests are safe and do not require a laboratory and return rapid results within 45 minutes. Rapid tests presents an opportunity to identify cases of coronavirus that would otherwise be missed. Identification of cases will help contain the spread of coronavirus so they can self-isolate and prevent the virus from spreading.

See the NHS website or call 119.

What happens at the test site?

The test will involve you taking a swab of the back of your throat and inside of your nose. You will give the swab to trained staff at the test centre who will be able to process the results there and you will receive test results within 45 minutes by text message or via email.

What should I do when I get my result?

Positive result

This means that the test detected coronavirus in your body on the day of your test.

It is very important from when you receive the confirmation of a rapid positive test, that:

Contact tracing for non-household contacts (such as within workplace or school settings) will take place following a positive test.

If you do not have any other support you can access and need help while self-isolating please view our coronavirus support online.

You may also be eligible for financial support.

Please also see I need to self-isolate or cannot attend work.

Negative result

This means the test did not detect you had coronavirus on the day you were tested. You must still follow the current government guidance.

If at any point in the future you develop Covid-19 symptoms (a continuous cough, high temperature or loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste) you should self-isolate and book a standard (laboratory) COVID-19 test online at or call 119. People who you live with must also self-isolate for 10 days.

What if I don’t get my test result?

If you haven’t received your rapid test result within 24 hours call 119. The operator will ask you for your barcode number and will advise you of what action you should take.

Can the rapid test detect the new COVID-19 variant?

Public Health England (PHE) has confirmed that lateral flow devices (LFDs) used in mass testing can detect the new COVID-19 variant.

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Standard testing – if you are displaying symptoms

Book a test poster

If you have symptoms of coronavirus you should book a standard Covid-19 test online at or by calling 119.

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

Check the NHS website for more symptoms.

In order to control the spread of the virus it is important you follow the guidance below if you have symptoms of coronavirus.

Share contacts

If you test positive for coronavirus, the NHS test and trace service will send you a text or email alert or call you with instructions of how to share details of people with whom you have had close, recent contact and places you have visited. It is important that you respond as soon as possible so that appropriate advice can be given to those who need it.

For more information see:

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NHS Test and trace

NHS Test and Trace:​

If you're contacted by the NHS test and trace service because you've been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus you will be alerted by the NHS test and trace service who will tell you to begin self-isolation for 10 days from your last contact with the person who has tested positive.

Your household doesn’t need to self-isolate with you, if you do not have symptoms, but they must take extra care to follow the guidance on social distancing and handwashing and avoid contact with you at home.

You are now required by law to self-isolate if you test positive or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in a fine of up to £10,000.

You may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 through the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme in Luton if you're required to stay at home and self-isolate.

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NHS Covid-19 app

NHS Covid-19 app image  

The government is urging all those over 16 years old to download the NHS COVID-19 app to help control the spread of coronavirus and protect themselves and their loved ones as case numbers rise.

The app is an important new tool to work alongside traditional contact tracing to help reduce the spread of the virus.

You can download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play by selecting the following buttons.

App Store

Google Play

Businesses, places of worship or community organisations that are open to the public must create a QR code to display at the venue for visitors to use in conjunction with the NHS app.

Create a coronavirus QR code

See more information about the app and Q&A on the NHS website which explain how to use the app, technical queries and includes information about your privacy and data.

The government has also produced videos:

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© 2021 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ