There are two types of test available to Lincolnshire residents:
- Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests
- Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests
The type of test you need depends on your circumstances.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms then you should self-isolate and book a PCR test as soon as possible at one of our fixed testing sites. These sites are open between 8am and 12pm for PCR tests (you must book first), and from 1pm for drive-through lateral flow test collection (no need to book).
If you do not have COVID-19 symptoms you can do a lateral flow test.
Everyone in England can take a free lateral flow test twice a week. However please note that lateral flow tests are NOT recommended for:
- anyone with COVID-19 symptoms - if you have symptoms you should self-isolate and book a PCR test immediately – do NOT do a lateral flow test
- children who are primary-age or younger should not do lateral flow tests - these children should only have a PCR test if they have COVID-19 symptoms
Regular asymptomatic testing is a vital part of the plan to reopen society and the economy, and to suppress the spread of variants.
Rapid lateral flow tests identify people who don't have COVID-19 symptoms but who can still infect others. They give a result in 30 minutes so positive cases can isolate immediately. This helps stop the virus spreading.
Getting tested regularly is the only way to know if you have the virus. Along with hand washing, wearing a mask and social distancing, regular testing is another way of protecting each other.
Lateral flow tests can be done in two ways:
- assisted test - visit an asymptomatic testing site where a trained operator will assist you with the test, some employers offer assisted testing too
- home or self-reported test - collect test kits from a testing site, local pharmacy or order test kits online to do at home
Lateral follow tests can also be collected from a participating pharmacy. Find your nearest pharmacy or test site with the COVID-19 Test and Vaccination Site Finder.
When should I do a lateral flow test?
It's recommended that people do a lateral flow test twice a week.
Take a test before you leave home to go to work or school, before meeting friends or attending an appointment. Do another test 3-4 days later.
People who are part of a workplace, school or university testing programme will have their own testing regimes to follow.
What happens if I get a positive lateral flow test?
If the lateral flow test is positive you will be prompted to book for a confirmatory PCR test. In the meantime you and your household should self-isolate.
Try to have your follow-up PCR test within 2 days of the positive lateral flow test. If you wait longer than this then you may still have to self-isolate for 10 days even if the PCR result is negative.
NHS Test and Trace will notify you if your follow-up PCR test is negative and you can stop isolating. They will also notify you if your follow-up PCR test is positive and advise you on self-isolation.
What happens if I get a negative lateral flow test?
If the lateral flow test is negative you could still be infectious so continue to follow the usual precautions such as hand washing, wearing a mask and social distancing.
How many kits can I pick up?
You can collect two test kits, each contains seven tests. This is enough for seven weeks of twice-weekly tests. If you are not able to collect in person, you can order online where you will receive one test kit for each order.
I'm a contact of a positive case, should I take a test?
Contacts of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 need to self-isolate at home for 10 days because they are at risk of developing COVID-19 in this time.
Because of this risk, contacts will be asked to take a home PCR test even if they don't have symptoms. Again, this should be done as soon as possible. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms during the 10 days, you should arrange for a PCR test.
If the PCR result is negative, you will still have to complete the 10 day self-isolation as the virus incubation period means there's still a risk of developing COVID-19 and you may be infectious.
If the PCR result is positive, you will need to start the 10 day self-isolation again from the date of your positive result.
Do not do a lateral flow test if you're self-isolating. A negative result does not mean you can end self-isolation as you may be incubating the virus and could infect other people.
I've had COVID-19 in the last 90 days, should I take a test?
If you've had a positive PCR result in the last 90 days do NOT do another PCR test, unless you develop COVID-19 symptoms.
What help and support is available to me if I need to self-isolate?
You may be entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment of £500.
For further support, advice and guidance call the county council's COVID helpline on 01522 782189.