Test results

Test results will be sent by both a text message and email from the NHS within 24-48 hours of your saliva samples reaching the lab.

For adults: If you test positive for COVID-19, you will be contacted within 24 hours by a healthcare professional, who will offer you their advice and support. You will also be contacted by email, text, or phone, by the NHS Test and Trace service. They will give you further advice and ask you about other people you have been in contact with.

For children: The named parents and guardians of any children who test positive for COVID-19 will be contacted within 24 hours by a healthcare professional, who will offer their advice and support. You will also be contacted by email, text or phone, by the NHS Test and Trace service.


A positive result means that you had COVID-19 when the test was done. You must self-isolate if you receive a positive result. Please ensure that you follow the latest national guidance on self-isolation.


If you had COVID-19 symptoms before or after you gave your sample, you should self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started. If you have not had COVID-19 symptoms, you must self-isolate for 10 days starting from the day that you received your positive test result. It is recommended that in the event of a positive result or COVID-19 symptoms appearing, any close contacts should also self-isolate for at least 10 days, even if they received a negative test result – it can take this long for symptoms to appear.


From 16th August, you will not be required to self-isolate if you are notified that you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and any of the following apply:

  • you are below the age of 18 years 6 months
  • you have taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • you are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons
  • you are fully vaccinated

You can find out more about what you should do in the following situation.

You must also tell your school, college, university or employer about the positive test result, to help to keep other people safe.

Urgent advice: Urgent advice:

If you need medical help, visit 111.nhs.uk or call NHS 111. If it is an emergency, call 999.

Please note that it is not necessary for you to organise another COVID-19 test through the NHS.


You can contact the Enquiries Team if you have any other questions or concerns.

When to stop self-isolating

If you still have COVID-19 symptoms after your tenth day of self-isolating, you will no longer have to self-isolate, but we would recommend that you continue to stay at home until you feel better.


You can stop self-isolating after 10 days if:

  • Your symptoms have improved other than cough or loss of taste or smell.
  • You no longer have a high temperature.

You may find the NHS guidance on how long to self-isolate useful.

Note that a cough or changes to your sense of smell or taste can last for weeks after the infection has gone, but this does not mean that you are still infectious.


A negative test result means that it is very unlikely that you had COVID-19 at the time of the test. You can still get the virus in the future. Continue to follow government advice, including practising social distancing and hygiene measures.

Non-urgent advice: If you develop symptoms:

You should self-isolate until you feel better, even though your most recent test result was negative. Book a PCR test online through GOV.UK, or if you are unable to use the online service, call 119 to organise a test from the NHS.


A void result means that it was not possible to process your sample. This may be because there was not enough saliva for testing when your sample reached the lab, or it may be that your sample was packaged incorrectly. Please do another test on your next available testing day, and follow the instructions for use leaflet carefully.


What happens to your test results

Where possible, your or your child’s test results will be added to either your or their medical record. Only your or your child’s GP and other authorised NHS staff, Public Health England, NHS Test and Trace staff and the local Health Protection Team, can access your or your child’s test results. Nobody else will be able to see your or your child’s personal test results apart from nominated senior leadership within your or your child’s school, college or university. They will receive the result in confidence, for the purpose of initiating contact tracing within the school or university, to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

Privacy Notice

You can view our full testing programme privacy notice here.