FAQs: Additional Community ‘Surge’ Testing
Which postcode sectors are being offered the extra community
BS8 3 (only within Bristol City Council boundary – check at Find your local council – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) )
BS14 0 (only within Bristol City Council boundary – check at Find your local council – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) )
I live in one of these postcode areas. Where can I get a test?
There are two options available currently. We have community surge Mobile Testing
Units and various Collect and Drop points across Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
You should use them if you are aged over 16 and do not have any symptoms of
Further information on the testing options and locations available is below.
We are in a nearby postcode, can we get tested?
No. Testing for people without symptoms through this route is only available to those
living or working in the specified postcode sectors. If you have symptoms, you can
book a normal test in the usual way. This can be done online at The NHS website – NHS (www.nhs.uk) or by calling 119.
Are the postcode sectors where you’ve found cases of the changed virus?
Postcode sectors announced are the areas eligible for additional testing of people
without symptoms, but this does not mean that the variant is necessarily present in
that postcode sector.
Where are the cases of the changed virus?
We will not be revealing the location of the cases of the changed virus, as it could
lead to the identification of individuals. We must all follow the national lockdown
guidance set out by Government, regardless of what type of coronavirus might be
more prevalent in the area.
By following the guidance and remembering: Hands, Face, Space we can protect
ourselves, our loved ones, and our city.
I went for a walk with a friend who lives in this postcode. Do I need to get a test as
No. Only people living or working within the selected postcode areas are being
encouraged to get a test.
COLLECT AND DROP SERVICES
What is a Collect and Drop site?
We have introduced Collect and Drop sites across Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
These sites are set up for people who live, or work in, the specified postcode areas,
are aged over 16 and do not have symptoms of coronavirus, to collect tests for
themselves, their family or for someone who is not able to leave the home.
Where are the sites located?
The sites for collection and drop-off in Bristol are:
Fishponds Library, Robinson House, Hockey’s Ln, Fishponds, Bristol BS16 3HL
• Henleaze Library, 30 Northumbria Dr, Henleaze, Bristol BS9 4HP
• Junction 3 Library, 138b Lower Ashley Rd, Easton, Bristol BS5 0FJ
• Whitchurch Library, 7 Oatlands Ave, Bristol BS14 0SX • Wick Road Library, Wick Rd, Brislington, Bristol BS4 4HE
The sites for collection and drop-off in South Gloucestershire are:
• Emersons Green Library, Emersons Way, Emersons Green BS16 7AP
• Downend Library, Buckingham Gardens, Downend, BS16 5TW
• Staple Hill Library, Broad St, Staple Hill, BS16 5LS
• Shireway Community Centre, Shire Way, Yate BS37 8YS
• Westerleigh Village Hall, BS37 8QL
• Hambrook Cricket Club, Moorend Road, Hambrook, Winterbourne, BS16 1SJ
• Pucklechurch Community Centre, Abson Rd, Pucklechurch, BS16 9RH
(opening Sat 13 February, Sun 14 February, Mon 15 February, Tue 16
February, Sat 20 February and Sun 21 February)
What time are the Collect and Drop sites open?
The Bristol sites are open Monday to Saturday, between 10am and 4pm.
The South Gloucestershire sites are open Monday to Sunday, between 9am and
5pm. Note Pucklechurch Community Centre is not open Wednesday 17, Thursday
18 or Friday 19 February. Bristol City Council is working to establish and confirm a
Do I need to book?
You do not need to book an appointment and can simply turn up. We advise that people try to
collect their kits at least half an hour before the site closes and drop them back off before the sites
close where possible. Otherwise, they can be returned within a few days.
Do I need to bring any identification with me?
No, you do not need to bring any identification. These new sites are only for people
without COVID-19 symptoms and who live or work in the designated postcode
If you are booking a normal test because you have symptoms of COVID-19, you
should do so through the national booking system by visiting The NHS website – NHS (www.nhs.uk) or calling 119. These test sites do require identification.
Can I post the completed test in a Royal Mail postbox or through a letterbox?
No, completed test kits should be put into the sealed box provided and returned to
the location it was collected from.
Can I collect a test on behalf of someone else?
Yes. We recognise that not everyone is able to leave their home to collect a test.
The Collect and Drop sites are for people to collect tests for themselves, their family
or for someone who is not able to leave the home.
Can I collect some tests for my employees?
Yes. If your business is located within one of the postcode sectors, you can collect
tests for your employees. This will be limited to a maximum of 20 test kits per business.
For large businesses, we would encourage employees to take a test at one of the
city’s additional mobile testing units (MTUs).
Where do I take my test?
Once you collect your test, please take it home with you to complete. It’s much
safer to do this at home rather than out and about or in your car.
How do I do a self-swab?
For guidance on how to do a self-swab, watch this instructional video from the
Department of Health and Social Care: https://youtu.be/8lo6g-TYZ-c
I missed the cut off for dropping my completed test back to the site. What do I do?
We’re asking people to return their completed tests on the same day if they can. If
you are unable to return your test on the same day, we urge you to do so at the next
available time within a few days.
I can’t access a testing site or Collect and Drop site and do not have anyone who
can access it for me. What do I do?
While the majority of people who are eligible will be able to take a test through the
new community surge Mobile Testing Units or our Collect and Drop sites, other ways
for anyone not able to do this are being carefully considered by both local
authorities. Please regularly check our testing pages at Bristol City Council home page – bristol.gov.uk , South Gloucestershire Council (southglos.gov.uk) or local news outlets for new information about this.
Can I use the library services while I’m there?
Generally, the libraries will be set up specifically for this Collect and Drop surge
testing service. In Bristol, you will not be able to drop off or collect library books or
use any other library services. However, in South Gloucestershire, you can pick up
Click and Collect library items – please speak to a marshal and they will arrange for
the collection of your items.
You will not be charged for overdue items while the libraries are closed.
Do I have to register my test?
Yes. Once you’ve collected your test and taken it back to your home to complete,
please ensure you go to Register a test kit – GOV.UK (test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk) and complete the form online within 24 hours. You can scan or manually enter your
barcode when instructed. You can also ring 119 and do this over the phone.
I have lost or spoiled my testing kit. Can I have another?
Yes. Please feel free to collect another kit when you can.
COMMUNITY SURGE MOBILE TESTING UNITS (MTUs)
Where are the community surge MTUs and what are the opening times?
The Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) are at the following locations:
• Science Park, Dirac Crescent, Emersons Green, BS16 7FR
• Bristol City Council Testing Centre, 17-18 Wellington Road, BS2 9DA
• Imperial Retail Park, Hartcliffe Way, BS13 7TJ
• The Imperial Sports Ground, West Town Lane, BS14 9EA
• Yate Common, Westerleigh Road, BS37 8RZ
• Shaftsbury Park, Frenchay Park Road, BS16 1LG
All community surge MTU sites across both areas will be open from 9am to 6pm,
seven days-a-week. Please be aware that opening times may be subject to
change at short notice.
Do I need to book a slot to visit the site?
No, booking is not mandatory at this time. We’re keeping our joint surge testing
programme under constant review to ensure it is as effective, accessible, and
convenient as possible. With two additional new Mobile Testing Units (MTUS) now
set-up and several Collect and Drop services in operation within communities, we’ve
decided not to introduce the extra step of needing to book in advance for tests at
MTUs at this time. As with all elements of the programme, we will keep this under
daily review and introduce our booking system if it becomes necessary.
Do I need to wear a mask at the site?
At the test site you should wear a face covering and follow social distancing at all
times. COVID marshals will be on the site to help you and answer any questions you
Do I need to take ID/proof of address to the testing site?
Identification and proof of address is not currently required at the new testing sites.
These sites are only for people without COVID-19 symptoms and who live or work in
the listed postcode areas.
If you need to book a standard PCR test because you have symptoms of COVID-19,
you should do so through the national booking system by visiting The NHS website – NHS (www.nhs.uk) or calling 119. These test sites require identification.
Are these sites walk-in or drive-through?
All MTU sites accommodate either walk-in or drive-through testing services.
I don’t have the means to access one of these sites. What do I do?
We have now introduced Collect and Drop services in a range of locations and are
working on other local solutions. We will share more information about this as soon
as we can.
Why aren’t there more Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) closer to me?
MTUs require particular site arrangements and there are a limited number of these
available. We now have a Collect and Drop service available and are working with
our partner agencies to see if there is capacity to set up other more local
arrangements in the coming days.
GENERAL TESTING ENQUIRIES
Why weren’t full programme details available from the start of the surge testing
The Department of Health and Social Care gave councils very short notice that a
testing scheme was required, so something that would normally be planned weeks
in advanced was launched in a little over 24 hours at a weekend. Therefore
elements of the programme are being designed ‘live’, and in many cases rely on
national decisions or resources, such as the supply of Mobile Testing Units and staff,
Because of this, details may change rapidly throughout the programme, and we
encourage everyone to keep up to date by checking our website and social media
What test will I have if I visit the site?
Standard PCR tests will be used at these testing sites. These types of tests involve a
swab of the nose and throat and are sent off to laboratories to be analysed.
Do the sites offer assisted testing?
No. You will have to take the test yourself. The test kit will contain instructions on
how to do this. You can also watch this instructional video from the Department of
Health and Social Care:
Why aren’t you using lateral flow (rapid) tests?
PCR testing allows public health agencies to carry out an important process called
genomic sequencing. Genomic sequencing is the process of testing a sample of
the virus to map its
genetic sequence. This helps public health agencies to monitor and understand the
evolution of new COVID-19 variants and respond accordingly.
How do I register the test?
Please ensure you go to Register a test kit – GOV.UK (test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk) andcomplete the form online within 24 hours. You can scan or manually enter your
barcode when instructed. You can also ring 119 and do this over the phone.
You will need to input your test centre code which is either: ZVY (for Science Park),
ZWR (for Yate Common), ZVZ (for Wellington Road), ZWA (for Imperial Park) or ZWQ
(for Imperial Sports Ground), ZXA (for Shaftsbury Park).
How and when will people be informed of the results?
People will be informed whether they have a positive test result by text or email via
NHS Test and Trace. Most people get their result the next day, but it may take up to
How often do we have to get a test?
We are asking people aged 16 and over who live in the specific postcode areas to
take one test in this two-week period of additional testing.
Does my whole family need to get tested?
If you live in one of these postcode areas, are aged 16 and over and have no
symptoms of COVID-19, we encourage everyone to visit one of our new community
surge Mobile testing Units or Collect and Drop services.
What if I am self-isolating?
If you are self-isolating because you’ve received a positive coronavirus test result,
you must continue to follow the isolation guidance and not leave your home for any
Do you have to isolate after having one of these tests?
No. You should follow standard guidance and only self-isolate if you test positive,
have any symptoms, or are contact traced following contact with someone who
An existing test site for people with symptoms is closer to me. Can I go there?
No. If you do not have symptoms and live in an area which is eligible, you must use
the new sites which have been set up for this purpose. This is to help keep you safe.
I am in a support bubble with a household in the postcode area. Do I need to get a
test as well?
Those who are in a support bubble and therefore travel into these areas are eligible
for a test.
I work in one of the postcode sectors but live outside of them. Do I need to get a
Essential workers travelling into these areas are also eligible for a test.
What accessibility to testing is available for disabled people?
Our Collect and Drop sites will be points where people can collect tests for those
unable to leave their homes. Collect and Drop instructions will be issued with the
testing kits, and tests must be carried out safely in the home.
For those who receive care at home through the Department of Health and Social
Care, tests will be given to care staff to administer to those they care for at home.
Care staff and support bubble members can support the completion of the test, if
appropriate hygiene measures are taken such as use of gloves and washing hands
thoroughly before and after administration.
Our community development team are also working with several disability groups in
the area to finalise how best we can make surge testing accessible to disabled
people, including the implementation of more accessible Collect and Drop sites.
Please regularly check our additional community testing pages at
Bristol City Council home page – bristol.gov.uk or South Gloucestershire Council (southglos.gov.uk) , or local news outlets for new
information about this.
Why isn’t there fast tracking for those with autism or other mental health issues that
require reduced waiting time?
The best option for those with mental health issues is to utilise the Collect and Drop
service. This way the test can be completed in the comfort of your own home, and
if you prefer not to leave the house, a household or support bubble member can
collect and drop the test on your behalf.
How can deaf users access the service?
You do not need to call on the telephone to access the tests. For information on
how to receive a test and to find out if you are eligible, please visit Community surge testing: additional COVID-19 testing for specific postcodes – bristol.gov.uk
A video in British Sign Language about the community surge testing programme will
also be available shortly. Please keep an eye on our websites for updates.
If you are already having regular lateral flow (rapid) tests for work, do you still have
to go for a PCR test?
Yes. If you do not have symptoms and live or work in one of the eligible postcode
sectors, you are strongly advised to get a PCR test as part of this community surge
testing offer. PCR testing allows public health agencies to carry out an important
process called genomic sequencing. This helps public health agencies to monitor
and understand the evolution of new COVID-19 variants and respond accordingly.
I’ve had the vaccine. Do I still need a test?
We are offering testing to everyone aged 16 or over – even if you have been
Should I get a test if I tested positive for COVID-19 recently?
As the standard COVID-19 PCR test is a very sensitive test which can pick up an old
infection beyond the infectious period, please do not seek a test if you have tested
positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days.
I’m shielding. Do I have to visit a site to get a test?
Arrangements are currently being made for more outreach services in certain
circumstances or locations. We will share more information about this as soon as
Can the homeless access the community surge tests?
Yes. Anybody who is homeless or sleeping rough can access the community surge
tests regardless of postcode.
Has the stay at home guidance changed in Bristol or South Gloucestershire?
No. The guidance remains the same. Please follow the national lockdown
guidance, stay at home except for essential journeys, for example, to buy
necessities or go to work if you cannot reasonably do so from home. Remember:
Hands, Face, Space.
If you have symptoms, including a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a
loss of taste or smell, please book a test through Get a free NHS test to check if you
have coronavirus – Get a free NHS test to check if you have coronavirus – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) or by calling 119.
For testing to detect the new variant, community surge Mobile Testing Units have
been deployed in the below three areas for people without symptoms who have to
leave their house for work or essential reasons.
Should I continue to send my children to nursery (or, where eligible, school) in these
Yes, you should continue to follow the national lockdown guidance. At the
moment, schools and colleges remain open to vulnerable children and children of
key workers. Nurseries also remain open. There are no instructions for education
settings to close in areas where new variants have been identified.
Can I still go out to shop for necessities in the supermarket?
You should continue to follow the national lockdown guidance, which includes
guidance around leaving the home to shop for necessities. When you are out and
about for essential reasons, please remember: Hands, Face, Space.
Can I still access lateral flow (rapid) testing?
Yes, if you are an essential worker and you are well you can continue to access
Can I access lateral flow (rapid) testing and also take a test through the community