Going to a HSE COVID-19 test centre

When you are at a HSE COVID-19 test centre, wear a face covering and stay 2 metres apart from other people.

Use the hand sanitiser provided to clean your hands.

Get a HSE COVID-19 PCR test

What happens during a PCR test

  1. Use the hand sanitiser provided to clean your hands.
  2. We will take some personal details from you including your phone number. This is so we can contact you with your results. Make sure we have your correct phone number.
  3. A healthcare worker will take a sample from inside the back of your throat and nose using a swab. This may be uncomfortable but it won't be painful. Children under 13 years old will only need to give a nasal swab sample.
  4. We will send your sample to a lab for testing.
  5. Go home - self-isolate (stay at home), if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
  6. You will get your test results by text message within 48 hours.

Drive-through PCR tests

Some test centres offer a drive-through service. These test centres are mainly for car users, but they will also see you if you walk or cycle there.

How to get a drive-through PCR test

If you choose to get a test in your car:

  1. Drive to the centre.
  2. Stay in your car.
  3. Follow the signs and the directions of staff.
  4. A healthcare worker will ask you to open your window and direct you to a test bay - do not get out of the car.
  5. You will give some personal details - this is so we can contact you with your results. Make sure they have your correct phone number.
  6. A healthcare worker will take a sample from inside the back of your throat and nose - this may be uncomfortable but it won't be painful. Children under 13 years old will only need to give a swab sample from their nose.
  7. We will send your sample to a lab for testing.
  8. Drive home - self-isolate (stay at home) if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

If someone else drives you to a drive-through centre

If you cannot drive yourself, a family member or a friend can drive you.

To keep safe, you should both:

  • wear a face covering and bin or wash it when you get home
  • wash your hands before and after the journey

If you have symptoms of COVID-19:

  • avoid touching surfaces within the car
  • sit in the back of the car, at as much of a distance as possible away from the driver
  • keep a window in the car open, if possible
  • bring tissues in case you need to sneeze or blow your nose - safely bin any used tissues at the test centre or at home

If you cannot go to a test centre

If you have a medical condition that means you cannot go to a test centre, a GP can refer you for a home test. Home tests are only available for those who are most in need of them.

Last updated: 27 August 2021 at 12pm

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