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Luton Borough Council

Coronavirus testing

Up to one in three people with Covid-19​ do not have any symptoms.​

Everyone living, working or studying in Luton ​can now get a free Covid-19 test, wheth​er you have symptoms or not.

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

If you don’t have any symptoms you can get a rapid test at one of our three ‘walk-up’ rapid testing centres.

We're encouraging people who leave home and come into contact with others (such as k​ey workers, essential shopping, caring, volunteering or worship) to get a rapid test on a weekly basis.

​Quick links​​​​

Rapid testing - if you have no symptoms

Free community-wide rapid testing (lateral flow testing) is available to anyone who lives, works and studies in Luton (unless you are self-isolating). We are encouraging people who leave home and come into contact with others (ie key workers, essential shopping, caring, volunteering or worship) to get a rapid test on a weekly basis.

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

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:

  • Lewsey Community Centre, Landrace Road, LU4 0SW
  • Farley Community Centre, Delphine Close, LU1 5RE
  • Luton Central Library, St George’s Square

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.

Frequently asked questions

What is a ra​pi​d 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.

Why do I need to get a test, if I don’t have symptoms

As many as one in three people with Covid19 have no symptoms. So you could be infectious and pass the virus on to your friends or family members.

Rapid tests are used to test people who may have Covid-19 but are not displaying any symptoms. It gives us an opportunity to identify cases of coronavirus that would otherwise be missed. And will help us identify and isolate more people so we can stop the virus from spreading to others.

Can children get tested?

Children aged 11 years or under can attend a rapid test centre with a parent or adult. The adult will be asked to administer the test on the child.

Children aged 12-17 years can self-administer the test under the supervision of their parent or adult or if required the parent or adult can administer the test.​

How often should I get tested? Should I get a test every week?

We are encouraging people who leave home and come into contact with others (ie key workers, essential shopping, caring, volunteering or worship) to get a rapid test on a weekly basis.

Can I take a rapid test if I have coronavirus symptoms?

No. If you have symptoms you should self-isolate at home and book a standard Covid-19 test online on 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 and you must do the following:

  • you and your household must isolate for 10 days from the date of your test, (this means stay at home, you must not go out to work, school or public places or go out to get food and medicine)
  • book a confirmatory PCR (standard) test as soon as possible on www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
  • inform your employer or education provider that you have received a positive result

If your confirmatory PCR (standard) test comes back negative, you and your household can stop isolating.

If your confirmatory PCR (standard) test is positive, you and your household must continue to isolate for the remaining 10 days. See more information on what to do if you receive a positive PCR (standard) test.

if you do not have any other support you can access and need help while self-isolating please view our coronavirus support online at luton.gov.uk/self-isolation-support or call 01582 548955. You may also be eligible for financial support for more details view our website at luton.gov.uk/coronavirus.

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 www.nhs.uk/coronavirus 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 nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.

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

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature
  • loss of taste or smell​
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.

  1. Isolate: as soon as you experience coronavirus symptoms, self-isolate for at least 10 days. Anyone else in your household must self-isolate for 10 days from when you started having symptoms
  2. Testguidance on testing for more information.
  3. Results: if your test is positive, you must complete the remainder of your 10-day self-isolation. Anyone in your household must also complete self-isolation for 10 days from when you started having symptoms. If your test is negative, you and other household members no longer need to self-isolate

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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Luton coronavirus testing pilot programme

Together with Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace, we're working in partnership to deliver a pilot programme for coronavirus testing at home and in areas where cases are high. These areas have been identified using weekly data that highlights where positive cases are in Luton.

This pilot programme launched on Friday 15 January 2021 and will run for six days until Wednesday 20 January 2021.

The purpose of the project is to see which approach and method leads to an increased uptake of testing, with the aim of breaking the chain of transmission of the virus between family members, housemates or partners of households in these areas.

There are two target groups in the project.

Group 1

Postcode push: this group will:
  • receive an information letter with translations
  • then receive a direct supply of four home testing kits for those in the household,
  • be required to take the test themselves and then return the used test on the same day to one of the local community drop off points, listed below

Group 2

Letter only: this group will:
  • receive an information letter only with details and instructions on how to order home testing kits for the household
  • take the test themselves and return to one of the community drop off points listed below or a local priority post box

The community drop off points during this time period are:

  • Luton Fire Station, Studley Road
  • Acorn Pharmacy, Dallow Rd
  • The Mall Pharmacy
  • Sainsbury’s Car Park, Bury Park
  • Dallow Community Centre, Dallow Rd

If you've been invited to take part in this pilot project (groups 1 and 2) you'll also receive a text message on your mobile phone (if you have a mobile phone) to:

  • remind you to order their test online if you haven't done so already and return it to the drop off point (if they have received a letter)
  • remind you that a home test kit has been delivered and that you need to take the test and return it (if you had a test kit delivered)
  • ask that, if you haven't received a letter, you need to go to the council website for more information

If you've been invited to participate in this pilot, received a letter and have any questions about how to order a test kit, or are unable to order a test online, please call 119. You can call between 7am and 11pm, informing the call handler that you're a Luton resident taking part in community testing.

To all of the participants of this project, we thank you for helping to try to reduce the number of coronavirus cases.

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NHS Test and trace

NHS Test and Trace:​

  • ensures that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus
  • helps trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive for coronavirus and, if necessary, notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus

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.

For more information see

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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&As 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