Help MK Control COVID-19: know your symptoms and when to get a test

Tuesday 15 September 2020


As thousands of pupils complete their first week of the Autumn school term, with the usual likelihood of picking up common bugs and colds, Milton Keynes’ Director of Public Health Muriel Scott is asking local people to refresh their knowledge of the symptoms of COVID-19, and to know when you need get a test.

The three main symptoms are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal


You should get a test if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or if you’re directed to by NHS Test and Trace.

Traditional cold symptoms such as a runny or bunged up nose are not a key symptom of COVID-19.  If you don’t have COVID symptoms, please do not book yourself a test.  Doing so only makes it harder for people with symptoms to get the test they need.

If you do need a test and struggle to get one, please keep trying. New testing slots are added hourly.  Additional laboratory capacity is being added, but in the meantime, areas of the country where there are significant outbreaks are being prioritised.

If you live with someone or are in the same social bubble as someone who has developed symptoms of COVID-19, you and other members of the household or social bubble need to isolate. You must also ensure the person who has symptoms gets a test. If that test result is negative, there is no need for isolation to continue. If the test result comes backs positive, you should read the government guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus.

The person with a positive diagnosis needs to isolate for 10 days from when symptoms began and the other members of the household (or bubble) should isolate for 14 days.

Depending on the nature of the contact you have had with a confirmed case, you may need to isolate for 14 days. You will normally be advised that you need to isolate by NHS Test and Trace, Public Health England, the local authority public health team or your employer.

People returning from certain countries abroad are also required to isolate for 14 days. If you have travelled outside the UK and are returning, please read the government guidance on entering the UK.

Five schools in Milton Keynes are currently taking precautionary measures after positive cases have been confirmed within their school community. Parents have been informed in all cases, and all schools are following proper processes and precautions.