Health and Wellbeing

Which test is appropriate and when

Rapid lateral flow testing kit, laid out on a table top Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Posted on: 17 June 2021

We’re hearing of situations where people who have a high temperature, or a new and continuous cough, or a change to their usual sense of taste or smell, are taking the rapid lateral flow device tests to find out whether they have COVID-19.  And then they’re getting on with their day if the result is negative.

But the rapid lateral flow tests are not for people who have symptoms of having coronavirus.

Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon

Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon

Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon, makes it clear.

“Lateral flow device tests are for people who do not show any symptoms of having coronavirus.

“If you have any of the symptoms, you must self-isolate immediately and arrange a free PCR test.  These are tests that are sent to a laboratory to be analysed and you will hear your result within a few days.  You can book PCR tests online, or by phoning 119.

“While awaiting your result, you must still self-isolate.  Self-isolating is a vital step in preventing the spread of coronavirus and it’s essential that we strictly follow that rule.”

If you test negative with a PCR test, you would not need to continue self-isolating unless there are other reasons to do so, which are:

  • you live with someone else who has tested positive
  • you live with someone who has symptoms, and has not had a test yet
  • you’ve been told to self-isolate because you’re been in close contact with someone else who has tested positive
  • you had a PCR test because you’d previously had a positive result for a lateral flow test and there were more than 2 days between those tests (in England)

If you do not show symptoms, please routinely use the rapid lateral flow tests to find out whether you are likely to be carrying the virus, unknowingly.  One in three people with the virus do not show symptoms, so the lateral flow tests are an important part in identifying those with the virus.  To find out more about lateral flow tests in Devon and where they are available, visit our website devon.cc/flow.

Posted in: DCC Homepage