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NHS Test and Trace

Find out how Test and Trace works, what to do if you need to self-isolate and where you can get support of you need it.

NHS Test and Trace enables people with coronavirus symptoms to get tested and if they have the virus, the NHS will trace the people they’ve been in contact with so that they can self-isolate too.  

If you or anyone in your household has symptoms:  

  • A high temperature 

  • A new, continuous cough

  • A loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste

Please stay at home, self-isolate and get tested. Apply for a test or call 119.

Find out more about NHS Test and Trace and how it works on the website

Islington Council is supporting the NHS system with a Local Test and Trace service.

Got symptoms? Get a test

If you develop coronavirus symptoms, it’s really important to self-isolate and get tested. Apply for a test on or call 119. If you’re struggling to access a test, please keep trying because appointments and test kits should become available throughout the day. You should get tested within the first three days of symptoms appearing, although testing is effective until day five. If you do not get a test within five days of symptoms , you must isolate for the full 10 days as you may be infectious. Your household will need to isolate for 10 days too, which is the time it can take to develop symptoms.

Regardless of whether you can access a test, if you develop symptoms, it’s vital that you self-isolate because this will prevent you passing it on to others. We know that self-isolating is hard for many people but we want to reassure you that Islington is here to help. If you need support to self-isolate – whether that be accessing a device to support your child to keep up with their education or help getting hold of essentials if you live alone – please call the We are Islington helpline on 020 7527 8222 or minicom on 020 7527 1900 or for more general information visit our coronavirus webpages.

Please only apply for a free symptom test if you have symptoms though, as we need to make sure these tests are available for people who really need them. If you do not have symptoms but want to check whether you are infectious you should take a non-symptomatic test instead. Free non-symptomatic home testing packs can be ordered online, collected from local pharmacies or you can book an appointment to have one at a local test sie. 

It is important to note that if you are self-isolating after contact with a positive case, you still need to self-isolate for 10 full days even if you have a negative test result. This is because it can take a while for Covid-19 symptoms to appear even though you have caught the virus. 

About self-isolation

Self-isolation is when you stay at home because you have or might have coronavirus (Covid-19). This helps stop the virus spreading to other people. Self-isolation is different to:

  • Social distancing – general advice for everyone to avoid close contact with other people
  • Shielding – former advice given to people at high risk from coronavirus to stay at home to avoid getting the virus

You should self-isolate if:

  • you have any symptoms of coronavirus
  • you're waiting for a result from a symptomatic coronavirus test result
  • you've tested positive for a current coronavirus infection – this means you have coronavirus
  • you live with someone who has symptoms, is waiting for a symptomatic test result or has tested positive for a current coronavirus infection
  • someone in your support bubble has symptoms, is waiting for a symptomatic test result or has tested positive for a current coronavirus infection
  • you have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace because you are a contact of a person with a positive coronavirus test

Where to get support if you need it

You shouldn’t leave your home, except to get a symptomatic test, if you need to self-isolate, so it’s good to think ahead and put a plan in place, so you can manage your daily life from your home. You might need to talk to a friend, neighbour or family member who can help you with shopping or to pick up medication if you need it. 

If you are asked to self-isolate and need support, you can call We are Islington on 020 7527 8222 or email for help. 

Test and Trace Support Payments are available for residents who have been told through NHS Test and Trace that they must self-isolate and who are in employment or are self-employed, on a low income and in receipt of certain benefits, and will lose money because they cannot work from home.

To help you make your plan, you can visit the Islington Directory and browse a range of organisations that can provide the support you need.

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