Testing for COVID-19

Getting a test if you have symptoms

Coronavirus symptoms are:

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

Testing when you have symptoms is by appointment only.

To book an appointment visit the national booking portal or phone 119

Or you can book a PCR home testing kit.

Getting a test if you don't have symptoms

You can request a test if:

  • you don’t have symptoms
  • you have been invited for work, at the request of contact tracing or you can not work from home
  • you are a local resident

You can collect a test kit from a local testing site without an appointment. You do not need to take proof of ID or address.

  • Crewe - Salvation army, Prince Albert Street, CW1 2DF between 1pm and 8pm
  • Macclesfield - Commercial Road, SK10 2QJ between 2.30pm and 8pm

A click and collect service for test kits is also available at 5 other test sites. If you can't use the click and collect system, you can phone 0300 123 5032 for someone to help you.

Or you can get a test posted to you.

People who have been asked to self-isolate should not attend a testing site, and will need to book a PCR test if they develop symptoms.

Around 1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 show no symptoms. Regular rapid testing is important in identifying and stopping the spread of the virus. The government have announced access to free, regular symptom free tests are available to everyone in England from 9 April, including people who have been vaccinated.

Test results

After a positive lateral flow test result, you and your household will be asked to self isolate and confirm this result by taking a confirmatory PCR test, as if you have symptoms. You should arrange your confirmatory PCR immediately (within 2 days).


The difference between COVID-19 tests

Standard COVID test (PCR)

This is a COVID test for people with symptoms. You take a sample from your nose and throat and get a result within 3 days.

What the result tells you

The test gives a snapshot of who currently has a COVID infection. The test does not entirely rule out a person having COVID.

Positive result - You should self-isolate immediately and follow NHS Test and Trace guidance.

Negative result - You must continue to follow “hands, face, space” guidance to stop COVID spreading. You do not need to self-isolate (unless specifically told to).

Lateral flow test (LFT)

This is a COVID test for people without symptoms. You take a sample from your nose and throat and get a result in 30 minutes.

What the result tells you

The test gives a snapshot of who currently has a COVID infection. The test does not entirely rule out a person having COVID.

Positive result - You should self-isolate immediately and follow NHS Test and Trace guidance. You should take another test, called a PCR test, to confirm if you have COVID (by visiting a testing site or using a home kit).

Negative result - You must continue to follow “hands, face, space” guidance to stop COVID spreading. You do not need to self-isolate (unless specifically told to).


 

Info graphic showing the difference between COVID-19 tests (JPG, 250KB)

The difference between COVID-19 tests - text on page.

 

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