Get tested

Get Tested

As part of the Government roadmap – COVID-19 testing will be vitally important in identifying and managing the virus in the community.

 

There are two types of Coronavirus tests.

  • (Symptomatic) PCR tests – for people who are displaying symptoms
  • (Asymptomatic) Rapid tests, or lateral flow tests - 1 in 3 people with coronavirus show no symptoms and are potentially spreading it without knowing, rapid lateral flow tests (LFDs) enable us to find these cases and prevent the spread of infection. All people in England are now able to access twice-weekly rapid flow test, allowing us to identify cases of Coronavirus that we would otherwise not find. See our Symptom free COVID-19 testing for everyone page for further information on testing. 

It is important to remember that if you display any symptoms of COVID-19, or test positive, you self-isolate immediately. 

The symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

If you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 you can book a test on the GOV.UK website or call the NHS on 119.

There are two ways that you can get tested to confirm if you currently have coronavirus and both are provided free of charge. The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat, which can be done by the person themselves (self-administered) or by someone else (assisted).

There are two local test sites at Marjon and the Guildhall which do not rely on vehicle access. The new sites have added a further 760 more tests each day to local testing capacity, in addition to the existing drive-in test site at the former Seaton Barracks site off William Prance Road.

Watch a YouTube video explaining the process for drive-through testing. 

We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to take up the offer of twice-weekly rapid testing if they are NOT displaying any symptoms of COVID-19. The following routes are available:

Workplace testing: Thousands of employers are offering testing in the workplace. This includes testing sites, where you can take a supervised test, and workplace collect, where you can pick up a box of tests to use at home. If your employer offers workplace testing, this is still the best route for you to access rapid tests. If you are a business and are interested in signing up, please apply here.

Community testing: Free, rapid lateral flow COVID-19 tests are available through the mobile testing van which visits locations around the city each week. Test numbers are limited each day. Visit our book a lateral flow test page to book your test or for further information. In addition a new temporary site is opening in the city centre (in Place de Brest, near Barclays). This will open from the 12 April on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday’s from 10am – 4pm. Both the mobile van and the City Centre site offers assisted testing and take-home testing packs (as long as supplies allow).

NHS Test & Trace sites: These are across the country and operate as symptomatic testing sites in the morning but are currently providing an afternoon collect option, where you can pick up a box of tests to use at home. Find out more.

Education: Secondary and college students are already being given tests to use at home twice a week, throughout term time and the holidays.

LFD Direct: For people who can’t access tests through the other routes, you can order a box of tests online or through 119, which will be delivered to your home.

Lateral flow and PCR tests have different characteristics and different uses. PCR tests have higher specificity and sensitivity but require a laboratory to process results and are therefore slower and more expensive. They are therefore well suited to specific use cases, such as those with COVID-19 symptoms.

While lateral flow tests have lower sensitivity than PCR, they deliver results far faster and do not require a lab, making them more scalable. As such, they allow us to test far larger numbers of asymptomatic people and get them their test result faster than with PCR technology. This will enable us to capture a large percentage of people who are infected and infectious, but not showing symptoms and unaware of the fact that they are possibly spreading COVID-19.

Symptomatic Testing (with symptoms)

Whether you visit a testing site or use a home-testing kit, you will receive advice on what to do in order to obtain your test results. Results will be sent out by text within 48 hours from a testing site, and within 72 hours of collection of a home test.

If you or your household member tested positive, you should all continue to follow the Government's stay at home guidance.

Asymptomatic Testing (a rapid flow test for those without symptoms)

Results will be sent to you via text message and/or email using contact details recorded at the registration or check-in process. The results will be communicated within a day of the test. 

Positive result

If you receive a positive result from a Lateral Flow Test, you must:

  • self-isolate immediately
  • have a PCR test. You can book a test on the GOV.UK website or by calling 119
  • follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace – they will let you know if you can stop self-isolating, following a PCR test.

Invalid result

In some situations, results may come back as invalid. If this happens you will need to be re-tested. If the result is invalid a second time, you may need to be tested using a PCR test. You can order a PCR home testing kit or book an appointment on the GOV.UK website. 

NHS Test and Trace ensures that we can protect each other by helping to identify, contain and control the spread of the virus.

Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. This could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within two metres for more than 15 minutes.

NHS Test and Trace ensures that we can protect each other by helping to identify, contain and control the spread of the virus.

Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions. This could include household members, people with whom they have been in direct contact, or within two metres for more than 15 minutes.

You may be alerted by NHS Test and Trace if you have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus.

We are supporting the NHS Test and Trace Programme with local case tracing.

The scheme will see local, Plymouth-based Council staff support efforts to find people who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

If the NHS system cannot make contact with a local resident after two days, their details will be passed onto our service to help find additional contacts.

While on the phone, call handlers will address any queries or questions around welfare and wellbeing as well as helping with any test and trace support payments.

The Government has announced a new payment to support people who face financial difficulty if they have been instructed to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020.

Visit our NHS Test and Trace support payments page for more details.