Rapid tests | Central Bedfordshire Council

Rapid tests

Rapid COVID-19 tests for priority workers

As part of our ongoing efforts to control the transmission of the coronavirus, we have launched three new testing stations across Central Bedfordshire for priority workers without symptoms.

These testing sites will use Lateral Flow Device (LFD) or rapid tests which can provide results usually within 30 minutes.

With around one in three people who have coronavirus showing no symptoms, this testing is vital for those individuals who cannot work from home and have regular contact with other people through their job.

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

Who is eligible to get tested?

Firstly, it is important to note that these testing centres are for private companies who have under 50 employees. Those with over 50 are being encouraged to have their own LFD testing provision, as per Department of Health and Social Care guidance.

If you have over 50 employees you can register to order coronavirus tests on the government website.

We are encouraging people who live or work in Central Bedfordshire, who carry out customer-facing roles to get tested twice a week, 3 to 4 days apart, at any of the centres.

If you go into other people’s homes or come into contact with other people as part of your job, then regular testing is important.

Examples of the types of roles we are encouraging to get tested regularly are:

  • police officers and PCSOs
  • fire and rescue service officers
  • local authority social workers, enforcement officers, fleet drivers and peripatetic teachers 
  • houseparents and residential wardens
  • day care staff for learning disabilities and older people
  • workers providing face to face support for residents who are in transitional accommodation, refuges or hostels 
  • extra care staff
  • front line housing staff, including housing associations
  • drivers transporting members of the public including: taxi, cab, bus, chauffeurs, community transport such as dial-a-ride
  • early years staff e.g. pre-schools and nurseries
  • childminders and related occupations
  • pharmacy and other dispensing assistants
  • undertakers, mortuary and crematorium assistants 
  • refuse and highways workers
  • prison service officers
  • construction operatives
  • tradespeople including bricklayers and masons, carpenters and joiners, electricians and plumbers
  • cleaners
  • retail cashiers and check-out operatives in smaller / independent stores (larger supermarkets will be assumed to have set up their own scheme)
  • engineering / manufacturing employees
  • warehouse operatives (if not available via employer)
  • staff working in food outlets / takeaways

Pregnant women and their partners prior to attending for key maternity appointments such as a 20 week scan.

The above list is not exhaustive, if you believe you are eligible for testing, just turn up for a rapid test. No need to book an appointment.

How to get tested

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

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

Please remember to bring your work ID to confirm your identity and job.

Also 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.

Testing centres

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.

Flitwick Leisure Centre

Steppingley Road
MK45 1TH

The testing centre at Flitwick is open 7 days a week, from 8am to 8pm.

Parking is available at the centre.

The Dunstable Centre

Court Drive

The testing centre at Dunstable is open 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm.

Parking is available at the Grove Park car park, in front of Go Bowling, and will be free whilst it is being used as a testing site.

Saxon Pool and Leisure Centre in Biggleswade

Saxon Drive
SG18 8SU

The test centre at Biggleswade will operate on a Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, from 8am to 8pm. Please note that on Friday 12 February this Centre will close at 5pm.

Parking is available at the centre.

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

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 self-administer the test, they do not require a laboratory and you will get your result within 30 minutes by text or email.

If you haven’t received your rapid test result within 24 hours call 119. The operator will ask you for your barcode number and will advise you of what action you should take.

If you receive a positive result, this means that the test detected coronavirus in your body on the day of your test.

It is very important, from when you receive the confirmation of a rapid positive test, that:

  • you and members of your household self-isolate for 10 days; this means stay at home, you must not go out to work, school or public places, you must not go out to get food and medicine
  • you inform your employer or education provider that you have received a positive result
  • NHS Test and Trace will contact you to identify people you may have been in contact with, so that they can alert other people who may need to self-isolate

As of 27 January 2021, there is no longer a need to get a standard PCR test from the NHS if your rapid test is positive.

Contact tracing for non-household contacts (such as within workplace or school settings) will take place following a positive test. Contact tracing for non-household contacts will need to be undertaken from the date of the test.

Find out what support is available for those needing to self-isolate.