FAQs about rapid LFD (lateral flow device) tests
Can I get an LFD test if I have symptoms of COVID-19?
No, if you have symptoms you must book a different test called a PCR test using the GOV.UK online booking system or by calling 119.
Who can get tested?
Anyone living or working within Stockton-on-Tees can get an LFD test as long as you don’t have any symptoms of COVID-19 and haven’t been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. You can access LFD testing even if you’ve had the vaccine and so we are encouraging everyone to get tested twice a week.
If you do have symptoms of COVID-19 you must book a different test called a PCR test using the GOV.UK online booking system or by calling 119.
Can I get a LFD test if someone I have been in close contact with tests positive for COVID-19?
No. If you are informed you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 you must book a PCR test using the GOV.UK online booking system or by calling 119.
Can I have an LFD test if I have had COVID-19?
You should not be tested within 90 days of testing positive for COVID-19 unless you develop new symptoms. If you develop symptoms you must book a PCR test not a LFD one.
What does the LFD test involve and how does it work?
It involves swabbing both tonsils (or where they would have been) at the back of the throat as well as into one nostril.
The test detects the virus at its most infectious stage. Results are available after 30 minutes. The test is well-established and works in a similar way to a home pregnancy test kit.
If you carry out a home test is very important that you record your result on the national website using the instructions that come with the pack – even if your result is negative.
Is the LFD test self-administered?
How quickly will I get my result?
Usually within half an hour. If you do a test at one of the Community Testing Centres you will get your result via text or email.
What happens if my result is positive?
If your result is positive you should self-isolate immediately and you will need to book an appointment for a confirmatory PCR test as soon as possible using the GOV.UK booking system or by calling 119. You can also order a PCR test to take at home using the same weblink.
The confirmatory PCR test should be taken within two days of taking the LFD test.
You will need to continue to self-isolate until you get the result of the PCR test and follow the advice you are given when you get the PCR result.
Everyone in your household should book a PCR test too. If they haven’t been fully vaccinated or they weren’t fully vaccinated until less than 14 days ago they must self-isolate for ten days from the day of their test, regardless of whether their result is negative or positive. If they develop symptoms the ten days starts from when symptoms began. Anyone who has been fully vaccinated for more than 14 days, only needs to self-isolate if the test result is positive or they develop symptoms themselves.
If you receive a negative follow-up PCR test result, and this PCR test was taken within two days of the positive LFD test, you and your household can stop self-isolating. However, you must continue to self-isolate if:
- this PCR test result is positive
- you choose not to take a follow-up PCR test
- your follow-up PCR test was taken more than two days after the positive LFD test result.
How many times can I have an LFD test?
We are all encouraged to have a test twice a week.
Should I still be tested for COVID-19 if I’ve had the vaccine?
Yes, because some people may still get COVID-19 despite having the vaccine and, although it is likely the symptoms will be less severe (so you may not have any), we do not yet know if it will stop you from passing on the virus. Though the evidence is really strong that the vaccine is effective, no vaccine is 100% effective and if you’ve only had one dose your level of protection is lower than if you have both.
The vaccine takes around two weeks to take effect so there is also a chance you could get infected before developing immunity. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 you must book a different test using the GOV.UK online booking system or by calling 119.