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Getting tested

  • Symptoms

    The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

    • 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 (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
    • 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

    Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms. Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if you’re worried about your symptoms.

  • Getting a test

    Anyone with the following coronavirus symptoms can get a test:

    • A high temperature
    • A new, continuous cough
    • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

    You can only get a test if you have symptoms or if you are asked to get one by services such as the NHS, your local council, or a government pilot project.

    If you have been in contact with somebody who has symptoms of coronavirus, you must self-isolate for 14 days, even if you have no symptoms yourself, and even if you have had a negative test result - as you could still be incubating the virus.

    You should only order a test if you develop any of the above symptoms.

    You are not eligible for a test through the national Test and Trace system for the reason of travelling to or from another country. If you return from a country that is subject to quarantine requirements and FCO foreign travel advice, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days – even if you test negative during those 14 days. Please do not waste a test that may be needed for others with symptoms.

    Testing locations

    You can choose to take the test:

    • A a test site (if one is locally available to you)
    • With a home test kit

    Residents in Blackpool should request a test through the NHS testing service.

    Please note: The service is currently very busy. If you cannot get a test now, or the location or time are not convenient, try again in a few hours.

    If no tests are available online, please do not call the helpline to get a test. No extra tests are available through the helpline.

    You cannot be tested for coronavirus at your GP surgery.

    Order a test online at GOV.UK

    Or call 119 to get a test if you are unable to use the internet.

    Authorities across Lancashire are working to increase access to testing.

  • Test results

    You'll get a text or email with your result when it's ready. If you use the NHS COVID-19 app, you may also get your result in the app.

    Most people get their test results the day after taking the test. Some results might take longer, but you should get them in 72 hours.

    There are 3 types of result you can get:

    • Negative
    • Positive
    • Unclear, void, borderline or inconclusive

    If you do not get your result, call the coronavirus testing contact centre on 119 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or 0300 303 2713 (Scotland). The contact centre is open from 7.00am to 11.00pm.

  • Self isolating

    If you have symptoms of COVID-19 however mild, you must self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms started.

    You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

    If you are not experiencing symptoms but have tested positive for COVID-19 you also must self-isolate for 10 days, starting from the day the test was taken. If you develop symptoms during this isolation period, you must restart your 10-day isolation from the day you develop symptoms.

    Duty to self isolate

    There is  a new legal duty on all those who test positive for COVID-19 or are identified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact, to self-isolate. Failure to comply with this new duty will be an offence carrying a fine of at least £1,000 and up to £10,000 for multiple breaches.

    The new duty means that anyone notified of a positive test result and any of their notified contacts will have a legal duty to self-isolate.

    Those testing positive for COVID-19 will be legally obliged to self-isolate for a period ending 10 days after the onset of symptoms or, for people who did not have symptoms when they were tested, 10 days after the date of the test. If you develop symptoms during this isolation period, you must restart your 10-day isolation from the day you develop symptoms.

    Other members of the household will be legally obliged to self-isolate for a period ending 14 days after the onset of the infected person’s symptoms (or, if they were asymptomatic, after the date of the test).

    Non-household contacts will be obliged to self-isolate for the period notified to them by NHS Test and Trace (the period ending 14 days after their most recent exposure to the person who has tested positive).

    Please read the government guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus infection.

    You may have to self-isolate when you arrive in England, if you are travelling from a country that is not on the travel corridor exempt list. Please check the government website for further details, including how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK.


  • Financial support for those self-isolating