Rapid COVID tests | Central Bedfordshire Council

Rapid COVID tests

Rapid COVID-19 tests

Everyone in England can now access free, regular, rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing.

It’s free, easy and quick.

With around one in three people who have coronavirus showing no symptoms, testing is vital for those individuals who have regular contact with people who are not part of their household or bubble.

Regular testing will help identify more people who have COVID-19 and help to reduce the spread of the virus as they will know they need to self-isolate.

We recommend getting tested twice a week, 3 to 4 days apart.

Pregnant women and their partners prior to attending for key maternity appointments such as a 20-week scan are also encouraged to get tested.

School pupils, staff and members of their households or bubbles are also now advised to get tested.

If you are a business with over 10 employees, you can register with the government for free rapid testing for your employees. Find out more about testing in the workplace.

Please watch out for the weather!

Because the new sites are mobile units out in the open, we may have to suspend testing during bad weather, such as heavy rain or high winds. Please keep an eye on the weather forecast and bear with us if rain interrupts our service.

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Having a test at home

You can get rapid tests to do at home. You can collect up to 2 packs of 7 tests from a local pharmacy or our testing centres or order a pack of 7 tests for home delivery.

Collect from a pharmacy

Find a pharmacy where you can collect rapid tests.

Order 7 tests for home delivery

Order rapid lateral flow home test kits on GOV.UK

If you do tests at home, you'll need to report your results online or on the phone. Your pack will include details of how to do this and what to do next.

Testing centres

We have test centres across Central Bedfordshire for people to get tested, which can provide results usually within 30 minutes.

We have mobile test centres in Biggleswade, Leighton Buzzard, Houghton Regis and Flitwick.

Testing is free and there is no need to book an appointment, just turn up.

Take a smartphone if possible, on which you’ll need to register and be sent your results.

Help is on hand for those who might need it.

You can get tested at any of the following centres. The testing centres are safe and social distancing measures are in place at all times.


Our new mobile test and collect minibus is at Chestnut Avenue car park, Biggleswade, from Tuesday 11 May.

Opening hours:

  • Tuesday 11 May: 11am to 5pm
  • Tuesday 8am to 5pm
  • Wednesday 9am to 6pm
  • Thursday 9am to 6pm
  • Friday 8am to 5pm

This replaces the test centre at Saxon Pool and Leisure Centre which has now closed.

Please note a standard (PCR) testing centre (for those with symptoms) operates from Saxon Pool and Leisure Centre in Biggleswade on Tuesdays and Saturdays.


Our new mobile test and collect minibus is at Flitwick Village Hall, Dunstable Road, Flitwick, MK45 1HP.

Opening hours:

  • Monday: 8am to 5pm
  • Tuesday: 8am to 5pm
  • Thursday: 8am to 5pm
  • Friday: 8am to 5pm

This service replaces the test site at Flitwick Leisure Centre which is now closed.

Houghton Regis

Our mobile test and collect minibus is at Parkside Day Centre on Parkside Drive in Houghton Regis until Friday 14 May. The mobile service will then move to another location in Houghton Regis.

Opening hours:

  • Monday: 11am to 7pm
  • Tuesday: 11am to 7pm
  • Thursday: 11am to 7pm
  • Friday: 11am to 7pm

Leighton Buzzard

Our mobile test and collect minibus is at Duncombe Drive car park, Leighton Buzzard.

Opening hours:

  • Monday: 9am to 6pm
  • Tuesday: 8am to 5pm
  • Thursday: 9am to 6pm
  • Friday: 8am to 5pm

What is a rapid test and how does it work?

A rapid test, also called a lateral flow test, is a test for people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms. If you have symptoms, you should self-isolate at home and book a standard COVID-19 test online, on the NHS website, or call 119.

The lateral flow test is designed to detect the presence or absence of coronavirus by applying a swab or saliva sample to the device’s absorbent pad.

The test will involve you taking a swab of the back of your throat and inside of your nose. You will give the swab to trained staff at the test centre who will be able to process the results there.

The sample runs along the surface of the pad, showing at the end a visual positive or negative result dependant on the presence of the virus (similar to a pregnancy test).

It takes less than 15 minutes to do the test yourself.

What to do if you test positive

A positive result means it's likely you had coronavirus (COVID-19) when the test was done. You and anyone you live with must self-isolate immediately.

What you need to do next depends on the type of test you had and where you had it.

Testing centre: positive rapid test result

If you did a rapid lateral flow test at a testing centre and the result was positive:

Continue to self-isolate until you get the result of the PCR test. Follow the advice you're given when you get the result.

If you do not get a PCR test within 2 days of a positive rapid lateral flow test, you will need to self-isolate for 10 full days even if you get a negative PCR result.

At home: positive rapid test result

If you did a rapid lateral flow test at home and the result was positive:

Continue to self-isolate until you get the result of the PCR test. Follow the advice you're given when you get the result.

Find out how long to self-isolate

Find out what support is available, if you need to self-isolate.