COVID-19 testing

There are different ways to get a coronavirus test, depending on whether you are currently receiving hospital care or not.

How do I get a test before my procedure?

If you are having a planned procedure (for example an operation) at a NHS hospital in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the staff looking after your care will arrange with you to have a test. This may mean that a test kit is sent to you by post, or staff may arrange for you to have a test at hospital in the days before your procedure.

If you are under the care of a hospital outside of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, that hospital will discuss testing arrangements with you. This will mostly likely be a postal test, although other options may be available.

I’m not a hospital patient, but I need a test

If you are not a hospital patient but need a test for coronavirus, you can get tested using the national booking website, but only if you have symptoms.

Appointments at local testing sites are released when they are available. If there is nothing locally available when you try the website, please wait for a few minutes and try again.

You can only go to a testing site if you have an appointment. Testing kits sent to you through the post can also be booked on the website.

Local hospitals, GP surgeries and walk-in centres are not doing COVID-19 tests for the general public. Please do not go to local health services to ask for a COVID-19 test. If you have symptoms you should self-isolate and keep trying to book a test through the website.

If you would like to contact the national testing programme or raise a complaint about COVID-19 testing, please contact the Department of Health and Social Care on 020 7210 4850 or fill in their online form.

When should I get tested?

You need to have a test in the first 5 days of having coronavirus symptoms. You should ask for a test if you have symptoms now.

On days 1 to 4 of your symptoms, you can get tested at a site or at home. If you’re ordering a home test kit on day 4, do it by 3pm.

On day 5, you need to go to a test site. It’s too late to order a home test kit.

If you are not able to get a test in the first 5 days of having symptoms, you and anyone you live with must stay at home (self-isolate). Anyone in your support bubble must also stay at home.

Where will my test be?

There are a number of testing sites and mobile units that work across Cornwall, but you must book a test and not just turn up, as you may be turned away.

Service locations sometimes vary but are often available in the following areas, but as they rotate venues often, there will be differing availability.

  • Bude
  • Camborne
  • Falmouth
  • Launceston
  • St Austell

There are also permanent testing facilities available at Penzance, Truro and Plymouth.

You can also order a test by post.