Around one in three people with coronavirus do not have symptoms. Lateral flow testing is a fast and simple way to test people who do not have symptoms, but who may still be spreading the virus.
Rapid testing has so far only been available to those most at risk and people who need to leave home for work, including frontline NHS workers, care home staff and residents, and school children and their families.
Rapid testing is now being offered to everyone, with people encouraged to take regular tests (twice a week) to help prevent outbreaks and reclaim a more normal way of life.
Before the test
Do not turn up for a lateral flow test if you are below the age of 16, or if you are displaying any of the following symptoms:
- a high temperature
- a new continuous cough
- a loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste
If you have any of these symptoms, please use the GOV.UK website to book a PCR test.
How to get a lateral flow test
Everyone in England who is not currently displaying symptoms of COVID-19 infection, can access free lateral flow tests to enable them to test twice weekly.
There are now several routes available to receive twice weekly testing.
- Get a test kit sent to your home – If you are unable to get to a test centre to collect a test kit you can order a home testing kit to be sent to your home. You can order a test online here.
- Get a test at your workplace – You may be able to get a test from your workplace or they may be able to send one to your home. Check with your employer for details, if this isn’t available you can use one of the other options above.
- Collect a test from a pharmacy – A new pharmacy collect service is now available in Somerset with 40 pharmacies signed up and more to come online soon. You will be able to use this if you are over the age of 18 without symptoms. Participating pharmacies will provide a box of 7 rapid tests to use twice a week at home. Find a pharmacy where you can collect tests.
- Assisted asymptomatic testing in a local pharmacy from Saturday 1 May – So far, 19 Somerset pharmacies have signed up to provide assisted testing using Lateral Flow (rapid) tests, for people who do not have symptoms of coronavirus. If you have never used a rapid test before, it is a great way to be shown how to do the test correctly. You can then collect kits and do the testing at home. Or this service might help you if you cannot perform the test on yourself for any reason, allowing you to take part in regular rapid testing.
Pharmacies signed up for assisted testing so far can be found below*:
|Eightlands Ltd||Cranleigh Gardens Pharmacy||Cranleigh Gardens, Bridgwater||TA6 5JS|
|John Ware Ltd||Alcombe Pharmacy||65 Alcombe Road, Minehead||TA24 6BD|
|John Ware Ltd||Creech Medical Centre||Creech Medical Centre, Hyde Lane, Taunton||TA2 5QW|
|John Ware Ltd||Merriott Pharmacy||2 Broadway, Merriott||TA16 5NQ|
|John Ware Ltd||Options Pharmacy||61b West Coker Road, Yeovil||BA20 2JD|
|John Ware Ltd||Porlock Pharmacy||High St, Porlock||TA24 8PT|
|John Ware Ltd||South Petherton Medical Centre||Bernard Way, South Petherton||TA13 5EF|
|John Ware Ltd||Staplegrove Pharmacy||Unit 1&2 Livingstone Way, Staplegrove, Taunton||TA2 5QW|
|Milborne Port Pharmacy||Milborne Port||10 High Street, Milborne Port, Sherborne||10 High Street, Milborne Port, Sherborne|
|Touts Pharmacy||Tours Cheddar||Roynon Way, Cheddar, Somerset,||BS27 3RB|
|Touts Pharmacy||Touts Street||82 High Street, Street, Somerset,||BA16 0EN|
|Allcures Ltd||Minster Pharmacy||15 Silver Street, Ilminster||TA19 0DH|
|Allcures Ltd||Preston Grove Pharmacy||Preston Grove, Yeovil||BA20 2BQ|
|Allcures Ltd||Quantock Pharmacy||11 Swain Street, Watchet||TA23 0AB|
|Axbridge Pharmacy||Axbridge Pharmacy||The Square, Axbridge, Somerset||BS26 2AR|
|Jhoots Pharmacy||Jhoots Blackbrook||Blackbrook Medical Centre, Lisieux Way, Taunton||TA1 2LB|
|Jhoots Pharmacy||Jhoots Victoria Park Dr Bridgwater||Victoria Park Dr, Bridgwater||TA6 7AS|
|Jhoots Pharmacy||Jhoots Somerset Bridge Bridgwater||Somerset Bridge Medical Centre Stockmoor Park Estate, Taunton Road, Bridgwater, Somerset||TA6 6LD|
|Superdrug Stores PLC||Superdrug Yeovil||15 High Street, Yeovil||BA20 1RQ|
*please check the opening hours with your local pharmacy before visiting/booking.
If you’re going into hospital
You may need to get tested if you’re due to have surgery or a procedure. The hospital will arrange this for you. Contact your hospital department if you have any questions.
Tests for NHS and social care workers
NHS Test and Trace is making regular coronavirus testing available to people without symptoms who work in the NHS and social care. Primary care staff can find out more here
Tests for care home residents and staff
There’s a separate testing service for care home residents or staff members. You can still get tested even if you do not have symptoms.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in adult care homes – How to access test kits and step-by-step guides on how to use PCR and rapid lateral flow test kits for regular and outbreak testing of residents and staff.
Tests for adult social care settings
Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for adult social care settings – Outlines the COVID-19 testing available for testing staff, residents and visitors for all adult social care settings.
Tests for businesses
The deadline for registering to order free rapid lateral flow tests was 12 April 2021.
If you have already registered you can order free rapid lateral flow tests until 30 June 2021 to use in your workplace or for your employees to collect and take home.
If you have not registered you cannot order free tests. You can choose to:
- pay an approved provider to provide tests or run a test site for you
- ask your employees to check if they can get a rapid lateral flow test to do at home or at a test site on NHS.UK
If you did not qualify for the work testing programme, book your Lateral Flow test appointments at your nearest test centre. Alternatively you can collect lateral flow testing kits from a community testing centre or from a local pharmacy to perform lateral flow testing at home – as well as ordering kits online to be sent to your address.
Tests for nursery staff
Nursery staff will be supplied with lateral flow device (LFD) test kits to self-swab twice a week. You will need to use this order form to place orders for home kits to enable twice-weekly testing of staff. Orders placed before 5pm on Wednesdays will arrive the following week, after this time orders will be processed and delivered the subsequent week. Further information on how to order additional test at home kits and details on the national testing policy can be found on the primary schools and nurseries document sharing platform.
Asymptomatic testing: primary and maintained nursery school staff – Information on rapid asymptomatic coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for staff in primary schools, school-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools.
Asymptomatic testing: early years staff in different settings – How staff in early years settings can access regular rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing.
Primary, middle and secondary school age pupils
It is important to note that this expansion in testing is not for children. Secondary pupils will access testing through their school, and primary age children should not be tested at this time.
You can find FAQ’s on rapid testing information to support the return to school here. Please note that this information is related to the schools testing programme and not other asymptomatic programmes.
Asymptomatic testing: secondary schools and colleges – Information for schools and colleges about testing.
- Students are encouraged to get tested for Covid-19 before they travel back to university, where community testing facilities are available to them.
- All students eligible to return to university should get two tests – one immediately on return to university and then again three days later. You should then be tested twice weekly after that. Your university should share guidance with you, setting out how and where to access asymptomatic testing.
- If you are a student who has arrived from overseas and have completed a period of quarantine –either in a hotel or in your own accommodation – you are not expected to perform a lateral flow test on your initial return to campus. Students should follow instructions on regular asymptomatic testing as set out by their university or higher education provider.
What the test involves and the results
Lateral flow testing involves a swab of the nose and throat to collect a sample and provides a result within around half an hour. This screening test requires twice weekly testing.
Step by step video guide to COVID 19 self-testing
You must report your lateral flow test result on GOV.UK as soon as possible.
If you test negative
If your lateral flow test result is negative, you have no symptoms and are not a close contact of someone who has coronavirus, you do not need to self-isolate.
If you test positive
If your lateral flow test result is positive:
- You and anyone you live with should self-isolate immediately.
- You will need to book a follow up Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test to confirm your result as soon as possible.
- Continue to self-isolate until you get the results of your PCR test.
- Follow the advice you are given when you get the PCR test result
If the follow up PCR test result is also positive, you will need to self-isolate with the rest of your household.
If your follow up PCR test is negative and has been done within 48 hours of the positive Lateral Flow Test you are no longer required to self-isolate.
What to do if you have misreported a positive LFT result on the website
If you have incorrectly reported a lateral flow result as being positive, when it was negative, you can take any of the following actions:
- Complete the online NHS Test and Trace form
- Email email@example.com
- Or phone 119
If you cannot get through to 119 or fail to get a response, you should book a PCR test (within 48 hours of the lateral flow test being taken).
You and your household contacts are required to self isolate until you receive the result of the PCR test. If the PCR result comes back negative, you can then stop self-isolating.
You and the close contacts need to self isolate until the test result is resolved.
Self-isolating means staying at home and not going to work, for food shopping or for any other reason. Your positive test result indicates that you are at risk of spreading the virus. You and your household must stay at home for 10 days following your positive test result. You can find more information on the NHS website: When to self-isolate and what to do – Coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you develop symptoms of coronavirus while you are self-isolating after your positive lateral flow test, you must extend your isolation for 10 days from the start of symptoms.
You will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace following the positive test, please help control the spread of the virus by participating in the contact tracing.
If you have a positive lateral flow result you may qualify for self-isolation payments. You can find information about the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme here
If you need Coronavirus help or support, contact Somerset’s Coronavirus helpline on 0300 790 6275
More information and downloads
- Government guidance on getting a test for coronavirus (COVID-19) if you do not have symptoms
- Understanding lateral flow antigen testing for people without symptoms – An explanation of the technology behind asymptomatic testing and the role these tests play in the national COVID-19 testing programme.
- COVID-19 PCR home test kit instructions – Step-by-step guide available in different formats and languages on how to use and return your PCR home test kit to test yourself for COVID-19.
- How to do a COVID-19 Self Test (rapid antigen test) YouTube video – How to test yourself for coronavirus using a self-test rapid antigen test kit, as well as how to read your result and report it to the NHS.
- COVID-19 self-test help – Find out how to test yourself for coronavirus (COVID-19) if you are asked to, and learn what help is available.
- NHS Testing for Coronavirus – Get a test to check if you have coronavirus, find out what testing involves and understand your test result.
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested – Guidance on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible for a test and how to get tested.
- Get a free PCR test to check if you have Coronavirus
- NHS test and trace: how it works
- Age UK – information on test and trace
- Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person
- Types and uses of coronavirus (COVID-19) tests – Guidance on the different types of coronavirus test available.
- How tests and testing kits for coronavirus (COVID-19) work – The different types of tests and testing kits for COVID-19, and the specifications for manufacturers.
- Coronavirus antibody testing – Information about the government’s coronavirus antibody testing programme. Antibody tests are to check whether a person has had the virus.
- NHS COVID-19 app – Download this app to help control the spread of coronavirus and protect yourself and others.
Local information, graphics and guides
- How to dispose of used COVID-19 self test kits – Information on what to to with the waste from Somerset Waste Partnership.
- Child COVID-19 symptom checker – to help parents know what to do if their child starts to display Coronavirus symptoms, tests positive, someone in their household displays symptoms or a household member tests positive.
- COVID-19 Testing – a quick guide
- COVID-19 Isolation graphic – what happens if someone in your household gets COVID-19
- Coronavirus Incubation Timeline #DontbelikeJane – this graphic shows why it is important to complete your full isolation period.
- How coronavirus can spread at work – supermarket graphic
- How coronavirus can spread at work – mechanic graphic
- COVID Keep Safe Checklist – How have you kept safe today?