From today, Tuesday 11 January, if you get a positive lateral flow test result (LFT) you are required to self-isolate immediately, but no longer need to take a confirmatory PCR test.
The suspension of PCR testing following a positive LFT result is a temporary measure introduced whilst COVID-19 cases remain high across the UK. Due to current high case rates, the majority of people receiving positive lateral flow test results can be confident that they have COVID-19. Similar changes were put in place in January 2021 which also saw a high prevalence of cases.
People should continue to report all lateral flow test results at www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result. For positive results reported, Test and Trace will be in touch so that any close contacts of the positive case can be notified. A person with a positive LFT result will be able to leave self-isolation 7 days after the date of their initial positive test, provided they receive 2 negative LFT results, 24 hours apart, on days 6 and 7.
Exceptions to the suspension of PCR testing following a positive LFT result include:
- people eligible for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment (TTSP)
- people who have participated in research or surveillance programmes
- people at risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 who have been identified by the NHS as being potentially eligible for new treatments.
Lateral flow testing every 3-4 days remains key to control the spread of the virus. Home lateral flow test kits can be ordered online at www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-kits, by calling 119, or collected from local pharmacies with a collection code (which can be accessed at https://test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/collect-lateral-flow-kits or by scanning a QR code in a pharmacy).
A limited supply of LFT kits can also be picked up at over 25 fixed community collect sites around the county, or one box per household can be collected from one of the mobile testing units popping up around Warwickshire. People can find out the nearest sites at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/covidtesting.
People with no COVID-19 symptoms who would prefer to test at a dedicated testing site can visit United Reform Church in Nuneaton on weekdays 9.15am to 4.45pm and on Saturdays 10.15am to 3.45pm. United Reform Church in Nuneaton is also offering vaccinations and has plenty of capacity - you can walk-in or book an appointment at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination.
The COVID-19 vaccine still offers the best protection against the virus, with the booster vaccination offering increased protection against the Omicron variant. For more information about vaccines, to book appointments or find a walk-in vaccination clinic visit nhs.uk.
Cllr Margaret Bell, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care & Health, said:
“As cases of COVID-19 remain high across the UK, now is a really important time to do the right thing for Warwickshire by taking regular lateral flow tests and self-isolating when required to minimise the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
“Alongside regular testing to control the spread, the COVID-19 vaccine offers increased protection against the virus. I urge everyone to keep yourself and those you love safe by getting the 1st, 2nd, and booster COVID-19 vaccines if you are eligible - it’s not too late to get them and it will help everyone to stay as safe as possible this winter.”
Public Health Warwickshire also advises residents to continue washing and sanitising hands regularly, keeping a distance from those we do not live with, and wearing a face-covering in public settings (unless exempt), especially when there is poor ventilation. If meeting people indoors make sure to also let in plenty of fresh air.
For more information, visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/coronavirus
To book your COVID-19 vaccination if you are eligible, click here
For further details on the PCR testing updates, click here