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Helping the people of Leicester to have long and healthy lives.

Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group

Coronavirus tests

Find out about the different types of coronavirus tests, whether you are eligible and how to get one.

There are now two types of coronavirus tests:

  • A swab test: to test if you currently have coronavirus
  • An antibody test: to see if you have previously had it

You can find out more about each type of test in the sections below. Please also read this handy guide to the different types of test.

NHS Test and Trace will now be making contact with anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. You can also find out more about what this means below.

Coronavirus swab test (click to expand)

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can ask for a test to check if you have the virus:

  • for yourself, if you have coronavirus symptoms now (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • for someone you live with, if they have coronavirus symptoms

Anyone aged five or older can have the test. It needs to take place within the first five days of developing symptoms. but it’s best to ask for it in the first 3 days, as it may take a day or two to arrange.

Most people will have the test at a drive-through test centre. If you do not have access to a car, you can request a home test, but there are limited numbers of these.

You should not go to the test centre unless you have booked an appointment in advance.

You can find out more and book your test here.

A local testing centre is in operation at Birstall Park and Ride which means that it will be even easier for people in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland to get tested and get back to carrying out their critical roles. Other mobile testing sites will also be opened locally to help meet demand where it is needed.

If you are an essential worker, your employer may have specific procedures for you to follow to ensure you get a test quickly. If you are an essential worker or an employer of essential workers, you can find out more using the links below.

Coronavirus tests for essential workers (click to expand)

If you are an essential worker, contact your employer and book your appointment as soon as you develop symptoms and begin self-isolating. You can find out if you are an essential worker here 

How to book your test

  1. Contact your employer and let them know you are self-isolating as soon as you develop symptoms. People should aim to be tested within three day of symptoms.
  2. Some employers will choose to refer their employees for a test using an online portal or they may ask you to do it yourself. If you have been asked to refer yourself, visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus
  3. After referral, you will receive a text message containing a website link and a verification code. You will then need to use these to book a test for yourself and the people you live with. Your appointment could be at the Birstall Park and Ride or at another local centre. A confirmation of your booking will be sent to you by email.
  4. Drive to the test centre and show the booking confirmation at the security gate (either a printed copy or on your smartphone).
  5. Follow the instructions on-site. The test consists of a swab for the mouth and nose.
  6. The results will be sent to you by text message.
  7. Let your employer know the result of your test. If the result is negative, you will be able to return to work, as long as:
    • you are well enough
    • you have not had a high temperature for 48 hours
    • anyone you live with also tests negative.If your test result is positive, or someone you live with tests positive, you cannot return to work. You will need to continue to self-isolate.

Information you may also find useful:

Guidance for employers (click to expand)

Referring your employees

  • If you haven’t done so already, register with the online portal. The first step is to email portalservicedesk@dhsc.gov.uk for access. Please include your organisation name, sector, region and the name and email address of up to two people who will use the portal.
  • Once you have access to the portal, upload the details straight away of any essential workers who are already self-isolating*. You must do this by 3pm.
  • Continue to upload details each day (by 3pm) of any new essential workers who begin self-isolating.

If you would like employees to refer themselves for a test

  • Contact all employees who are already self-isolating* and ask them to refer themselves for a test at: www.gov.uk/coronavirus
  • When a new employee reports they are self-isolating, ask them to refer themselves for a test in the same way.
  • Use your internal communication channels such as notice boards, newsletters, emails and meetings to remind your employees about self-isolation and what to do.

* People should aim to be tested within three day of symptoms.

Antibody test (click to expand)

An antibody test can tell you whether you have had coronavirus or not. 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.

Antibody testing is not currently available for everyone. They will be introduced in a phased approach, starting with NHS staff, social care staff, patients in hospital and care home residents. The initial number of tests available will be small but this will be increased.

For more information about the government’s coronavirus antibody testing programme visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-antibody-tests

NHS Test and Trace (click to expand)

The government has launched the NHS Test and Trace service as part of the coronavirus recovery strategy. This will mean 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.

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 2 metres for more than 15 minutes.

If those in isolation develop symptoms, they can book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119. If they test positive, they must continue to stay at home for 7 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.

The NHS test and trace service will help to control the rate of reproduction (R), reduce the spread of the infection and save lives. By playing your part through the actions set out below, you will directly help to contain the virus by reducing its spread. This means that, thanks to your efforts, we will be able to go as far as it is safe to go in easing lockdown measures.

You can help in the following ways:

  • if you develop symptoms, you must continue to follow the rules to self-isolate with other members of your household and order a test to find out if you have coronavirus
  • if you test positive for coronavirus, you must share information promptly about your recent contacts through the NHS test and trace service to help alert other people who may need to self-isolate
  • if you have had close recent contact with someone who has coronavirus, you must self-isolate if the NHS test and trace service advises you to do so

This specific guidance applies in England only.

If the NHS test and trace service contacts you, the service will use text messages, email or phone.

For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works

Click on the blue text below for more information.

What will happen when NHS Track and Trace contacts you?

Contact tracers will:

  • call you from 0300 013 5000
  • send you text messages from ‘NHS’
  • ask you to sign into the NHS test and trace contact-tracing website
  • ask for your full name and date of birth to confirm your identity, and postcode to offer support while self-isolating
  • ask about the coronavirus symptoms you have been experiencing
  • ask you to provide the name, telephone number and/or email address of anyone you have had close contact with in the 2 days prior to your symptoms starting
  • ask if anyone you have been in contact with is under 18 or lives outside of England

Contact tracers will never:

  • ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to us (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
  • ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product or any kind
  • ask for any details about your bank account
  • ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
  • ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
  • disclose any of your personal or medical information to your contacts
  • provide medical advice on the treatment of any potential coronavirus symptoms
  • ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else
  • ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS

They will ask you:

  • if you have family members or other household members living with you. In line with the medical advice they must remain in self-isolation for the rest of the 14-day period from when your symptoms began
  • if you have had any close contact with anyone other than members of your household. We are interested in in the 48 hours before you developed symptoms and the time since you developed symptoms.

Close contact means:

  • having face-to-face contact with someone (less than 1 metre away)
  • spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of someone
  • travelling in a car or other small vehicle with someone (even on a short journey) or close to them on a plane
  • if you work in – or have recently visited – a setting with other people (for example, a GP surgery, a school or a workplace)
  • They will ask you to provide, where possible, the names and contact details (for example, email address, telephone number) for the people you have had close contact with. As with your own details these will be held in strict confidence and will be kept and used only in line with data protection laws.

How NHS Test and Trace works for someone with coronavirus symptoms

1. isolate: As soon as you experience coronavirus symptoms, you should self-isolate for at least 7 days. Anyone else in your household should self-isolate for 14 days from when you started having symptoms.

2. test: You should order a coronavirus test immediately at nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 if you have no internet access.

3. results: If your test is positive you must complete the remainder of your 7-day self-isolation. Anyone in your household should also complete self-isolation for 14 days from when you started having symptoms. If your test is negative, you and other household members no longer need to isolate.

4. share contacts: If you test positive for coronavirus, the NHS Test and Trace service will send you a text or email alert or call you within 24 hours with instructions of how to share details of people you have been in close, recent contact with and places you have visited. It is important that you respond as soon as possible so that we can give appropriate advice to those who need it. You will be asked to do this online via a secure website or you will be called by one of our NHS contact tracers.

How NHS Test and Trace works for those contacted if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus

1. alert: You will be alerted by the NHS Test and Trace service if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. The alert will come either by text or email and you’ll need to log on to the NHS Test and Trace website, which is the easiest way for you and the service to communicate with each other – but, if not, a trained call handler will talk you through what you need to do. Under 18’s will get a phone call and a parent or guardian will be asked to give permission for the call to continue.

2. isolate: You will be asked to begin self-isolation for up to 14 days, depending on when you last came into contact with the person who has tested positive. It’s really important to do this even if you don’t feel unwell, because it can take up to 14 days for the symptoms to develop. This will be crucial to avoid you unknowingly spreading the virus to others. Your household doesn’t need to self-isolate with you, but they must take extra care to follow the guidance on social distancing and washing your hands.

3. test if needed: If you develop symptoms of coronavirus, other members of your household should self-isolate at home and you should book a coronavirus test at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ or call 119 if you have no internet access. If your test is positive you must continue to stay at home for 7 days. If your test is negative, you must still complete your 14 day self-isolation period because the virus may not be detectable yet.

For the latest information about coronavirus tests, please visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus