6 things you need to know about rapid Covid-19 testing
1. Rapid self-tests are for people who do NOT have Covid-19 symptoms
You should test yourself regularly at home even if you feel well. About 1 in 3 people who have Covid-19 do not show any symptoms but can still infect others. The aim of rapid testing is to identify those individuals as quickly as possible and reduce the risk of further spread.
2. The test kits are free and available across Essex
Everyone in Essex without Covid-19 symptoms can get packs of self-test kits for free to do at home. You can choose to order online from gov.uk or pick-up tests from a collection point close to you. To order over the phone, call 119 for free. Lines are open 7am to 11pm.
3. Self-testing will help to protect your friends and family
Getting tested regularly is the only way to know if you have Covid-19. As restrictions ease, it is vital we all take steps to keep Covid-19 in check. Testing twice a week (3 or 4 days apart) will help to reduce the risk of unknowingly passing on Covid-19 to a loved one. Remember to report every result, whether it is positive or negative.
4. If you test positive, you must self-isolate immediately
Reducing the risk of Covid-19 spreading is vital. If you test positive, you and everyone in your household must self-isolate immediately. The person who tests positive must get a PCR test to confirm the result (a PCR test is a different type of Covid-19 test).
5. There is help available if you need to self-isolate
It is a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive following a rapid Covid-19 test. This will help to stop the spread of the virus and protect others. If you are unable to go out to work while you are self-isolating and cannot work from home, there is financial support available.
6. Remember, negative for now but not forever
Testing negative for Covid-19 does not mean you can stop following other protective measures such as social distancing, handwashing and wearing a face covering. It also does not mean that you will remain negative forever. Everyone must continue to follow the national guidance and self-test regularly to keep Covid-19 in check.
If you DO have Covid-19 symptoms, you must self-isolate immediately and order a free PCR test.
For more advice and information about Covid-19 support in Essex, visit our Coronavirus Hub and Let’s Keep Covid in Check together.