A drive through coronavirus test centre has now opened in Oxfordshire, giving eligible people in Reading a closer option to get to.
Thornhill Park & Ride opened at the end of April as one of the government's 43 regional centres set up to cope with an expansion in testing.
On 29 April, the health secretary announced that anyone in England with coronavirus symptoms who either has to leave home to go to work or is aged 65, would be able to get tested.
Symptoms include a high temperature or a new, continuous cough.
This was a major expansion of the testing programme, which had largely been for NHS staff. Care home staff are also being offered tests.
All about testing for Covid-19
Who is eligible to request a test?
- All essential workers including NHS and care workers with symptoms
- Anyone aged over 65 with symptoms
- Anyone with symptoms whose work cannot be done from home
- Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who lives with those identified above
When can eligible people request a test?
You need to get the test done in the first 5 days of having symptoms. It’s best to apply for the test in the first 3 days as it may take 1 or 2 days to arrange.
Where can eligible people have the test?
- At a regional drive-through test centre, such as the one in Oxford
- At a mobile testing centre, whose locations vary day by day
- At home, using a testing kit sent out to you via Royal Mail or an Amazon courier.
What does the test involve?
It is done by taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud.
What is the test checking for?
The test will confirm if you currently have the Covid-19 virus and if you need to follow self-isolation guidance and keep away from others and your workplace. The test is not for healthy people to show if they've ever had Covid-19. Antibody tests are not yet available.
How soon will people get test results?
The government says it aims to return results within 48 hours of a swab being taken at a test centre, or within 72 hours for a home test.
How do eligible people request a test?
Via the government website.
As of 6 May 2020, 514 people in Reading had tested positive for coronavirus, compared with 401 in neighbouring Wokingham and 335 in West Berkshire.
Other testing locations, including the University of Reading, have been set up specifically for health and social care staff, not the general public. These are being run by Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.