Can you get a coronavirus test without symptoms?
As we enter 2021, coronavirus has been brought just that bit closer to home for many of us. This new coronavirus wave (along with a new variant of COVID-19) has led to new restrictions and renewed anxiety for the health of our friends, family, and ourselves.
Virus rates have risen across the country with around 1 in 50 people currently infected with COVID-19, and even higher rates in some areas of the country.
We also now know that up to 20% of people are asymptomatic carriers of the disease. And although they don’t display any symptoms of COVID-19, they can still be infectious and pose a risk to those closest to them.
As a result, even if you don’t have coronavirus symptoms, it can be a huge relief to know for certain whether you have the virus or not.
But can you get a coronavirus test without symptoms? And if so, how? Here, we tell you everything you need to know.
Can you get a coronavirus test without symptoms?
Not via the NHS
To book an appointment for an NHS COVID test, you need to have at least one of the three main virus symptoms. These are:
- A high temperature
- A new, continuous cough
- A change to or loss of your taste and/or smell
The only way to get an NHS test without displaying symptoms is if you fall into one of the following categories:
- You’ve been asked to get a test by a hospital, your local council or by the King’s College COVID app
- Someone you live with is showing symptoms or has tested positive
Yes — if you book a private COVID test
Private COVID testing is much more flexible. You can get a COVID test even if you aren’t showing symptoms of coronavirus.
In fact, most clinics will only conduct in-person tests with people who confirm they don’t currently have symptoms. They may also take your temperature upon arrival to the test venue.
This keeps the clinic or pharmacy setting a COVID safe environment and helps to ensure no one picks up the virus during their visit.
What are the options for private testing?
If you don’t qualify for an NHS COVID test, but you’re nevertheless keen to know whether you currently have the virus, it’s time to book a private COVID test.
There are a couple of different options to choose from. Here we explain each of them and outline a few of their benefits and drawbacks.
A number of private clinics around the country — like Corona Test Centre — provide coronavirus test appointments in-clinic. When you attend the clinic, a medical professional will conduct the test for you.
Your sample is then sent away to an accredited lab to be tested.
The benefits of in-clinic private testing
When you attend a clinic, a trained and experienced health care practitioner carries out the test. This means you can be confident that the test has been conducted properly.
Private clinics also tend to offer a wide variety of COVID-19 tests. So if you’d like to get tested for antibodies too (which requires a blood test) or you want to get a Fit to Fly certificate in order to enter another country, a clinic is your best option.
Clinic appointments are easy to book online and results can be provided on the same day, next day or in two days time, depending on both the test and your selection.
The drawbacks of in-clinic private testing
In-clinic tests tend to be pricier than other private coronavirus test options, especially if you want a quick turnaround. (Some clinics can have your results back to you within hours but charge extra for this service.)
However, if you want the peace of mind that comes with this kind of test, you might well decide that it’s more than worth the money.
High street testing
A number of high street pharmacies are offering COVID test appointments. It’s possible to book with big names like Boots, Lloyds and Superdrug — as well as smaller and independent pharmacy chains.
The benefits of high street testing
At your high street pharmacy appointment, a health care practitioner will administer the test. You can often count on quick results and an easy booking system.
The drawbacks of high street testing
Pharmacies don’t usually have the same appointment availability as specialised private clinics so they’re not the best option for those who want total flexibility. There are often also long waiting lists.
You can order COVID tests direct to your home. You’ll receive all of the equipment you need to take a sample, as well as instructions, and then send it onto the lab for testing. Any test you receive should be marked with the CE seal of approval.
The benefits of self-tests
If cash is a consideration, self-administered home tests tend to be a bit cheaper than the other options. This is because you don’t need a health care professional to do the test.
The drawbacks of self-tests
While it’s perfectly possible to conduct a coronavirus test at home, there are a number of pitfalls to avoid. When you don’t have medical training, there’s a greater risk that you’ll take an inconclusive sample, meaning you have to repeat the whole process to get a test result.
The swab shouldn’t touch your tongue, your teeth or the inside of your mouth. You also can’t let it touch any other surfaces. This can be a challenge when you’re looking in the mirror, doing the test yourself!
With self-administered tests you also need to navigate the posting process. You need to post your sample at a specific time into a specific post box so it can be received by the lab in time.
How to book a test with Corona Test Centre
Want to get a coronavirus test without symptoms? Take a look at the options offered by us at Corona Test Centre.
Booking your COVID test appointment is quick and easy. Just go to our online portal and pick a location, date and time that suits you. We have clinics in London, Watford, Birmingham and Manchester, and both weekday and weekend slots.
You can choose from antigen, PCR, antibody and Fit to Fly tests, all conducted by a trained healthcare professional — symptoms or not! Book your test today.