Health advice and support

COVID-19 testing

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. 

Symptomatic testing 

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). 

Asymptomatic testing 

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 home test kits online 

We have a list of testing sites, or you can visit the national COVID-19 test centre and vaccination site finder to find your nearest test centre. 

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. 

Do NOT do a lateral flow test if you have symptoms. If you have COVID-19 symptoms and get a negative lateral flow test, you should self-isolate and book a PCR test.  

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 who are double jabbed or aged under 18 are no longer legally required to self-isolate.

However, contacts are advised to take a PCR test even if they don't have symptoms. This should be done as soon as possible. You are not required to isolate while waiting for your PCR result.

If the PCR result is positive, you will need to start the 10 day self-isolation again from the date of your positive result.  

Double jabbed people are still at risk of being infected so you are advised to consider other precautions such as wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces and limit contact with other people, especially with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.

Most double vaccinated health and social care staff who are close contacts of cases will be able to return to work, provided they have had a negative PCR test. Daily LFD tests will need to be taken for 10 days as a precaution.

Staff working with clinically extremely vulnerable patients or service users will need a risk assessment to be carried out by a designated person in the workplace before they return to work.

If you are not fully vaccinated, you will need to self-isolate if you are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. 

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.