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200916 | Booking online coronavirus Covid-19 test in Cornwall is 'impossible'

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Booking online coronavirus Covid-19 test in Cornwall is 'impossible'

 residents share stories

'It's impossible to get a Covid-19 test in Cornwall': residents share stories

Residents from various parts of Cornwall have contacted The Packet to share their stories after struggling to book Covid-19 tests at local centres.

This follows Council Council releasing a statement that "urgent changes" are needed in the Covid-19 testing system and asking residents to get in touch about any difficulties they've had in order to make recommendations to government.

There are normally four mobile testing units that work across Cornwall, but you must book the test online.

READ MORE: 'Urgent changes' needed to Covid testing says council as some forced out of Cornwall

David McGuire from Penryn became concerned when his 12 year old daughter Harriet, who attends Camborne Academy, started displaying symptoms of Covid-19 on Saturday (September 12), and was advised by an operator on 111 to book a test.

David said: "She had a temperature, a continuous cough and no sense of smell.

"I went on the website to try to book a test and it kept on saying 'no test sites found, try later'.

"I set my alarm for every hour and a half throughout the night and still no test sites were found. It's impossible.

"At seven o clock on Sunday morning it said 'you can go to Honiton, but you'll have to be there by half past nine'.

"It said the test was booked but I didn't get a confirmation email or text. But it said it was booked so I thought, 'well let's go and we can phone the centre on the way to get the details'.

"When I finally got through they said 'if you haven't got the confirmation, don't go'. By this time I was in Okehampton! So I turned back. My daughter had to endure me pulling into a lay-by to have a little cry."

David was finally able to get a home test online yesterday (Monday September 14), after trying all weekend.

He added: "The waiting affects so many wider people, you know, the school can't just close because one student's got a cold!"

Samantha Crocket from St Austell kept her daughter home from Mount Charles school when she began having symptoms of a cold.

The school informed her that her daughter would be unable to return to school until she has had a Covid-19 test.

Samantha has been unable to book a test or a doctor's appointment.

Samantha said: "I have been on my phone constantly all day ringing numbers, on hold for over half an hour, one number even hung up after 25 minutes waiting.

"I have filled out the form on the government page to get a test over 20 times for it to say there are no drive-through or walk-in tests anywhere!

"The supply of home test kits has run out and my doctor's number has been engaged all day!

"She's only been back at school a week! What am I supposed to do?"

Steve Austin, who works in a hotel gym, woke up on Thursday, September 10, with a slight cough, very sore throat and muscle fatigue. He immediately began to self-isolate and to attempt to book a test online, but found it very difficult to do so.


After three days of trying to book a test, Steve drove to Plymouth after having one confirmed that morning.

Screenshot from government test booking web page

Steve arrived at the testing centre in Plymouth only to be turned away due to not having been sent a QR code - a barcode that can be scanned on a smartphone - when booking the test.

Steve said: "I drove up to Plymouth to be turned away at the test site. I was not the only person they turned away, while I was there many cars were sent away untested.

"I followed protocol, I was vetted by the NHS and still did not get a test. That’s just not acceptable.

"I’m now going back to work after a seven day isolation with no test, no wages and no idea if I’m still contagious."

If you've experienced problems booking a test you can get in touch with Cornwall Council by direct message on its Facebook page at or via email at

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “NHS Test and Trace is working, our capacity is the highest it has ever been but we are seeing a significant demand for tests.

"New booking slots and home testing kits are made available daily for people with symptoms and we are targeting testing capacity at the areas that need it most, including those where there is an outbreak, and prioritising at-risk groups.

“Our laboratories are processing more than a million tests a week and we recently announced new facilities and technology to process results even faster. If you do not have symptoms and are not eligible to get a test you can continue to protect yourself if you wash your hands, wear a face covering and follow social distancing rules.”