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Lateral flow testing update

Please see the below information re testing from Val Ayre, Public Health locality manager.


What is an LFD (Lateral Flow Device) test?

Around 1 in 3 individuals with COVID-19 do not display symptoms. Opening testing up to catch those showing no symptoms will help to find positive cases earlier and to break hidden chains of transmission.


Lateral flow device (LFD) testing is a fast and simple way to test people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but who may still be spreading the virus. The tests are easy to use and give results in 30 minutes. Those who test positive must immediately self-isolate for 10 days to avoid passing the virus on to others. (Self-isolation starts immediately but counting day 1 as the next day).


This type of test is very good at identifying people who have lots of the virus, and are infectious on the day, but isn't as good at finding the virus in people who aren’t infectious yet (i.e. early in the infection), so they are a kind of spot check test.


Lateral Flow Antigen testing involves processing a nose and throat swab sample with an LFD.

The LFD detects a COVID-19 antigen, that is produced when a person is infected with COVID-19.

If this antigen is present, then a coloured strip on the LFD will appear to show a positive result.

  • You will have to self-administer a nose and throat swab under supervision of testing staff.

  • The Supervising Operative will be able to provide guidance whilst you self-administer the test, and once you have taken the swab, will take the sample for analysis.

  • You will receive a barcode, with a unique reference number (that are supplied separately to the test kits), which will be used to link you to your individual test sample.

This is different from the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests that have been carried out for the public at various locations in recent months, which work in a different way, as the swab kits go to the lab, rather than be tested on site.

The PCR tests are better at finding very small amounts of the virus, especially early in infection, so these are used primarily in people who have symptoms and can be booked through the NHS website.

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