Covid-19 testing

Updated 23 December 2020

There are different ways to get a Coronavirus test in Kent and Medway, 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 (e.g. an operation) at a NHS hospital in Kent and Medway, 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 Kent and Medway, 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 in Kent and Medway 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 five days of having Coronavirus symptoms. You should ask for a test if you have symptoms now.

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

On day five, 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 five 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?

For symptomatic testing available through the national testing programme, sites in Kent and Medway include:

  • drive through centres, including those in Rochester, Canterbury, Margate and Folkestone,
  • home testing by post, and
  • mobile units operating in the county.

The information on this page will be regularly updated.

Covid-19 testing for HGV drivers using the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel

There is a different process for testing for HGV drivers using the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel. Find out more on the website.

Asymptomatic testing

Targeted asymptomatic testing is being run in Kent and Medway. 

People will be invited to testing by a letter or email and we encourage everyone who is invited to go and get a test.

Find out more for:

Please book a Covid-19 test if you have symptoms.

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