Coronavirus testing guidance
- Who can get tested?
Testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) has been expanded to all ages now, (symptomatic or those who live with a symptomatic person) including under fives. People can ask for a test if they, or a member of their household, have the recent onset of any of the following symptoms:
- a new continuous cough
- a high temperature
- a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia)
The test needs to be done in the first five days of having symptoms (it is better to apply for a test in the first three days if possible).
Members of the public (who are not essential workers) who have symptoms of coronavirus should use the national booking system by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.
Those who do not have any access to the internet, or who have difficulty with the digital portals, are able to ring a new 119 service to book their test.
People experiencing any of the above symptoms and their household members should self-isolate immediately. If you need medical advice about your symptoms use NHS 111 online or call NHS 111.
- Testing for essential workers
Essential Workers, and members of their household, who have symptoms can use the dedicated local arrangement (by speaking to their employer) or should register for a test through the Self-Referral and Employer Portals on gov.uk.
Care Homes in England can continue to register for delivery of tests for all their staff and residents, whether or not they have symptoms: gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-care-home.
- How to get tested in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin
Testing can either be done at home by applying for a home testing kit or by registering for an appointment at a drive-through testing centre.
Testing is provided at drive-through testing centres, currently by appointment only, and the correct booking procedures must be followed in order to avoid being turned away.
In Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin this may be at our Regional Testing Site in Ironbridge or a Mobile Testing Unit which operates from sites in Shrewsbury, Oswestry and Ludlow on a rotational basis, or further afield, at a regionally based drive-through testing centre.
The test itself involves taking a swab of the inside of the nose and the back of the throat, using a long cotton bud. This can be done by the person themselves or by someone else. Results of the test and subsequent advice will be provided.
NHS Test and Trace programme
Follow this advice if you're told by the NHS Test and Trace service that you've been in contact with a person who has coronavirus (COVID-19).
Stay at home for 14 days
If you're told you've been in contact with a person who has coronavirus:
- Stay at home (self-isolate) for 14 days from the day you were last in contact with the person – it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear
- Do not leave your home for any reason – if you need food or medicine, order it online or by phone, or ask friends and family to drop it off at your home
- Do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for essential care
- Try to avoid contact with anyone you live with as much as possible
- People you live with do not need to self-isolate if you do not have symptoms If you live with someone at higher risk from coronavirus, try to arrange for them to stay with friends or family for 14 days
- If you have to stay in the same home together, read about how to avoid spreading coronavirus to people you live with.
How NHS Test and Trace will contact you
You'll be contacted by email, text or phone.
Text messages will come from the NHS. Calls will come from 0300 0135000.
Children under 18 will be contacted by phone wherever possible and asked for their parent or guardian's permission to continue the call.
You'll be asked to sign in to the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing website. If you cannot use the contact tracing website, they will call you.
Important! NHS Test and Trace will NOT:
- Ask you for details of card or bank account numbers
- Ask you to set up a password or PIN number over the phone
- Ask you to provide or fill in social media login details
- Ask you to download anything
- Ask you to call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087.
Scam text messages often encourage the recipient to click a link that redirects them to an unsecured website where personal information may be stolen.
NHS Test and Trace will only ever call from the number 0300 013 5000, or you will be texted from “NHS”.
Further information on the NHS Test and Trace Service
- NHS Test and Trace service to form a central part of the government’s coronavirus recovery strategy
- Anyone with symptoms will be tested and their close contacts will be traced
- New guidance means those who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive must isolate for 14 days, even if they have no symptoms, to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus
The service will help identify, contain and control coronavirus, reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.
Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. This could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within two metres for more than 15 minutes.
People identified as having been in close contact with someone who has a positive test must stay at home for 14 days, even if they do not have symptoms, to stop unknowingly spreading the virus.
If those in isolation develop symptoms, they can book a test at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ or by calling 119.
If they test positive, they must continue to stay at home for seven days or until their symptoms have passed. If they test negative, they must complete the 14-day isolation period.
Members of their household will not have to stay at home unless the person identified becomes symptomatic, at which point they must also self-isolate for 14 days to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.
NHS Test and Trace brings together four tools to control the virus.
- Test: Increasing availability and speed of testing will underpin NHS Test and Trace
- Trace: When someone tests positive for coronavirus the NHS Test and Trace service will use dedicated contact tracing staff, online services and local public health experts to identify any close recent contacts they’ve had and alert those most at risk of having the virus who need to self-isolate. This will be complemented by the rollout of the NHS Covid-19 App in the coming weeks.
- Contain: A national Joint Biosecurity Centre will work with local authorities and public health teams in PHE, including local Directors of Public Health, to identify localised outbreaks and support effective local responses, including plans to quickly deploy testing facilities to particular locations. Local authorities have been supported by £300m of new funding to help local authorities develop their own local outbreak control plans.
4. Enable: Government to learn more about the virus, including as the science develops, to explore how we could go further in easing infection control measures.
The NHS Test and Trace service, including 25,000 dedicated contact tracing staff working with Public Health England, will have the capacity to trace the contacts of 10,000 people who test positive for coronavirus per day and can be scaled up if needed.
The rollout of the NHS Test and Trace service has been made possible by the rapid expansion of testing. The largest network of diagnostic testing facilities in British history has been created and will soon have the capacity to carry out 200,000 tests a day. This includes 50 drive-through sites, more than 100 mobile testing units and three mega laboratories.
People who are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service will be given clear information explaining what they must do and how they can access local support if needed.
Guidance is also available online. This comes as the Department for Work and Pensions has announced that those having to self-isolate will be eligible for statutory sick pay if they are unable to work from home.
This applies across the four nations of the UK.
More information on test and trace is available at: www.gov.uk/coronavirus
- Test and Trace Strategy Q&A
- Test and Trace workplace guidance
There are now two types of coronavirus test:
- A swab test (antigen test or PCR test) to test if you currently have coronavirus
- An antibody test to see if you have previously had it
An antibody test can tell you whether you have had coronavirus or not, but not about any level of protection or immunity from getting the virus again.
If you have a positive result, it does not mean that you are immune from getting the virus again, so social distancing measures must still be followed. It will give scientists and the government a better understanding of the spread of the virus.
The antibody test involves a blood test which is taken by a medical professional.
Across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, antibody testing is being introduced in a phased approach, starting with NHS and care home staff and inpatients.
The initial number of tests available will be limited but this will be increased in the coming weeks, at which point the test will be offered to more people.
Antibody testing is currently not available from your local GP. However, clinicians will also be able to request the tests for patients in both hospital and social care settings if they think it’s appropriate.
While the results of an antibody test will not allow people to make any changes to their behaviour, such as easing social distancing measures, there’s clear value in knowing whether NHS and care workers and hospital patients and care home residents have had the virus, and in collecting data on the test results.
Click here for more information about the government’s coronavirus antibody testing programme.