Covid19 variant surge testing

What surge testing is, who can have it, where to get tested and what to do after your test.

We’re doing additional community testing, also known as ‘surge’ testing, to help us learn more about the mutated COVID-19 variant in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.  

It will also help reduce the spread of infection by finding asymptomatic cases and prompting people to self-isolate.  We’re only doing this testing in specific postcodes, as a sample of the Bristol population. These postcodes are the areas where people who don’t have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are eligible for additional testing. This does not mean that the variant is necessarily present in that postcode. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, do not come for surge testing. You should book a coronavirus test on GOV.UK

Who can get tested 

You can get a test at one of our mobile testing units or collect and drop sites if all of the following apply: 

  • you’re over 16 
  • you live in one of the postcode areas below 
  • you do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 (you’re ‘asymptomatic’)
  • you have not tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days

You can also get a test if you: 

  • travel into these postcode areas for work 
  • are in a support bubble with someone in these postcode areas 
  • are homeless or sleeping rough

You are strongly advised to get tested if you’re eligible. We’re asking you to take one test in this two-week period of additional testing. 

You can still get a test if you’ve been vaccinated or are having regular lateral flow tests for work. 

You can get tested if you live in one of these postcode areas: 

  • BS1 3
  • BS2 0
  • BS2 8
  • BS2 9
  • BS3 5
  • BS4 4
  • BS5 0
  • BS5 6
  • BS5 7
  • BS6 5
  • BS6 6
  • BS8 2
  • BS8 3 (only within the Bristol City Council boundary, check your postcode on GOV.UK
  • BS9 4
  • BS14 0 (only within the Bristol City Council boundary, check your postcode on GOV.UK)
  • BS14 9
  • BS16 1
  • BS16 2
  • BS16 3 
  • BS16 5
  • BS16 6
  • BS16 7
  • BS16 9
  • BS37 8

Each postcode is split as it would be if written down. The number after a space is the first number of the second part of the postcode. For example, BS1 3 is not BS13, and BS3 5 is not BS35.

Where to get tested 

Mobile testing units

We’ve set up five mobile testing units for this additional testing. You must go to one of these new units, not an existing test site for people with symptoms. This is to help keep you safe. 

The mobile testing units are open Monday to Sunday from 9am to 6pm at: 

  • Bristol and Bath 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
  • Shaftsbury Park, Frenchay Park Road, BS16 1LG
  • The Imperial Sports Ground, West Town Lane, BS14 9EA
  • Yate Common, Westerleigh Road, BS37 8RZ

All sites offer walk-in and drive-through testing. You do not need to book an appointment.

Do not come to a mobile testing unit if you: 

  • are self-isolating after a positive coronavirus test, or have been told to by NHS Test and Trace 
  • have symptoms of coronavirus 
  • do not live or work in or have a support bubble with someone in one of the listed postcodes, even if you’ve met up with someone who does 

When you come for a test 

You must: 

  • wear a face covering  
  • follow social distancing.  

You do not currently need to bring ID or proof of address. 

There will be COVID marshals on site to help you or answer any questions.

Get a test to take at home (collect and drop) 

If you can’t go to a mobile testing unit, for example if you’re shielding or you’re not able to queue, you can get a test to use at home from one of our collect and drop sites, or ask someone to collect a test for you. You can also collect a test for someone else if they live or work in one of the specified postcodes.

The collect and drop sites in Bristol are open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm at: 

  • Fishponds Library, Robinson House, Hockey’s Lane, Fishponds, Bristol, BS16 3HL  
  • Henleaze Library, 30 Northumbria Drive, Henleaze, Bristol, BS9 4HP  
  • Junction 3 Library, 138b Lower Ashley Road, Easton, Bristol, BS5 0FJ  
  • Whitchurch Library, 7 Oatlands Ave, Bristol, BS14 0SX  
  • Wick Road Library, Wick Road, Brislington, Bristol, BS4 4HE   

You can’t use the library services at these sites.

The collect and drop sites in South Gloucestershire are open Monday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm at:  

  • Emersons Green Library, Emersons Way, Emersons Green, BS16 7AP  
  • Downend Library, Buckingham Gardens, Downend, BS16 5TW  
  • Staple Hill Library, Broad Street, Staple Hill, BS16 5LS  
  • Shireway Community Centre, Shire Way, Yate, BS37 8YS 
  • Westerleigh Village Hall, Shorthill Road, BS37 8QL 

You can use the click and collect services at the South Gloucestershire libraries while you’re there. Speak to a COVID marshal to do this.

You don’t need an appointment but you should try to go at least 30 minutes before the site closes. Try to go to the site nearest to your home. You don’t need to take identification.

Take the test home so you can take it safely, and bring it back to the site you collected it from during its opening hours. Bring it back on the same day if you can, or within a few days. The Department of Health and Social Care has a video that explains how to take a test

The collect and drop sites depend on the government supply of tests. They may sometimes need to close early. Check our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates.  

Other ways to get a test

If you receive care at home through the Department of Health and Social Care, your care staff will be given a test to carry out at your home, and can help you take it if you need it.

We’re considering other ways to provide tests to people who can’t access the mobile testing units or collect and drop sites, including working with disability groups on how we can support people with disabilities.

What test is used 

We use standard PCR tests. These tests take a swab of the nose and throat, which is sent to a laboratory to be analysed. 

We’re using PCR testing because it 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 in order to map its genetic sequence. This helps public health agencies to monitor and understand the evolution of new COVID-19 variants and respond accordingly. 

After you take a test 

You must register your coronavirus test online (GOV.UK) or call 119 within 24 hours. You’ll need the test code for the site you took the test at:  

  • Bristol and Bath Science Park: ZVY 
  • Bristol City Council Testing Centre (Wellington Road): ZVZ
  • Imperial Retail Park: ZWA 
  • Imperial Sports Ground: ZWQ
  • Shaftesbury Park: ZXA
  • Yate Common: ZWR

You’ll get your test result by text or email from NHS Test and Trace. Most people get their result the next day, but it could take up to three days. 

If your test result is positive, you must self-isolate in line with NHS guidance.

If your test result is negative, continue to follow the government’s stay at home guidance (GOV.UK).

You don’t have to self isolate while you wait for your test result unless you develop symptoms.

We will not be revealing the location of the cases of the mutation, because it could lead to individuals being identified.