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Getting a test for coronavirus

We are scaling up our testing capacity even further to 500,000 tests a day by the end of October, expanding our network of testing sites and laboratories as well as investing in new testing technologies. Whilst this scaling up is happening, the service is currently very busy. We would ask anyone who tries to book a test and is unable to do so, or who is offered a location or time which is not convenient, to please wait a few hours and then try again.

Only get a test if you have coronavirus symptoms or have been asked to get tested by a doctor or a public health professional or by your local council.

What are the tests for coronavirus?

The testing programme across Lancashire and South Cumbria, and across the UK as a whole, now consists of two different tests.

The first and most widely available test is the viral detection test, which tells you whether you currently have coronavirus or not.  This is a swab test in which two separate viral swabs, a nose swab and a throat swab, are taken. Anyone who has coronavirus symptoms can ask for a test. You should only ask for this test if you have the symptoms now. If the test is to be successful you need to get it done in the first 5 days of having symptoms. Do not wait – you should ask for the test as soon as you have symptoms.

The second is the antibody test, which tells you if you have had coronavirus in the past. Studies are being conducted to determine if the presence of the antibody infers ongoing immunity.  The antibody test only has limited availability currently, although this will be expanding over the coming weeks and months. This is a blood test that requires 10ml of blood and must be taken by a medical professional.  Finger prick blood tests are not currently available.

Where do I go for my test?

Tests are only available with an appointment – once these are made, people will receive the full addresses and information on the testing sites. Anyone arriving without an appointment will be turned away.