Coronavirus Testing Guidance
Issued by: Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP)
Coronavirus testing guidance
- Who can get tested?
Testing for coronavirus (Covid-19) has been expanded to everyone over the age of five with symptoms. 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 and 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 a Mobile Testing Unit based in a temporary location in Shropshire, 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
The new NHS Test and Trace launched on Thursday, 28 May, 2020.
Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by the service 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.
For more information click here.
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.