Asymptomatic testing - FAQs
Asymptomatic testing - FAQs
Q: What is the purpose of these facilities?
A: Asymptomatic testing facilities provide rapid testing to people who do not have symptoms of Covid-19.
Using lateral flow device tests, this testing programme aims to identify asymptomatic but potentially infectious cases, helping to reduce the risk of transmission and outbreaks.
The LFD test is a RED LIGHT test that can STOP the spread of COVID-19 in people who do not have symptoms by identifying them, isolating them and breaking chains of transmission.
An LFD test is NOT a GREEN LIGHT test to rule out COVID-19. This is because LFD tests are less sensitive than PCR testing and they will not identify all positive cases of COVID-19. They are a useful tool to identify COVID-19 cases in people who do not show symptoms. They are not a substitute for the measures we all need to take to stop the spread of the virus.
If your LFD test for COVID-19 is negative it is very important that you continue to follow government guidance to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Q: Who will be able to get a test?
A: Currently, anybody without symptoms of Covid-19 is eligible to book appointments.
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms needs to book a test in the usual way through www.gov.uk.
The focus on the community testing programme will evolve in line with the government’s roadmap out of lockdown and to reflect the roll out of other routine testing programmes.
Q: If I am eligible, how do I book a test?
A: To book a test at the Civic Centre, https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/NCCLateralFlowTestBooking@365newcastle.onmicrosoft.com/bookings/
To book a test at Westgate College, visit https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/NCCLateralFlowTestWestgate@365newcastle.onmicrosoft.com/bookings/
Please note from Monday May 17 supervised testing at the Civic Centre will relocate to the Arches Reception and appointments will be paused at Westgate College.
Q: Are the tests used the same ones that are administered at fixed testing sites in the city?
A: No. The fixed testing sites in the city were established by the Government and its contractors using PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests which involve a swab of the nose and throat which is analysed in a laboratory.
This facility will use Lateral Flow Antigen testing which involves a self-administered swab which is analysed in a Lateral Flow Device on site which quickly tests for the presence of the virus.
Q: How will I find out my test result?
A: The result of your test will be confirmed to you digitally via SMS text message or email once it has been processed. This usually takes an hour. You do not need to wait for your result.
Q: I have not received my test result, what should I do?
A: If you have a query relating to your result, please dial 119 – individual test results are not held by Newcastle City Council.
Q: What if I test positive?
From March 30 2021, anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 from a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test will be required to take a PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) test to confirm the result.
The requirement for a confirmatory PCR test was temporarily removed earlier this year, but as the prevalence of Covid-19 has reduced, the likelihood of false-positive results being recorded from an LFD has increased.
That means anybody using LFD tests, including at the council’s asymptomatic testing facilities at the Civic Centre and Westgate Road, or testing arrangements through schools, will need to book a PCR test in the event of a positive result.
For LFDs undertaken under supervised conditions or where assisted, a positive LFD result will trigger the legal duty to self-isolate and initiate contact tracing. If a negative confirmatory PCR is obtained within 2 days of the positive LFD test result, the individual will be released from self-isolation and tracing. If the confirmatory PCR test is taken too late, the individual who received a positive LFD, and their household, will need to self-isolate for the full 10 days.
For LFDs undertaken at home, the legal obligation will only commence once a positive PCR test is confirmed but anyone who has received a positive LFD result should still self-isolate (along with members of their household) as soon as they get the positive LFD.
Lateral Flow Tests remain a vital tool in the fight against Covid-19 and you should continue to make use of rapid testing programmes. LFTs help identify symptomless but potentially infectious cases of the virus and may help reduce the risk of wider transmission and outbreaks.
PCR tests can be booked from the Government’s website here.
Q: If I have symptoms of Covid-19 can I use this facility to confirm if I have the virus?
A: No, if you have symptoms do not use this site.
Anyone with a high temperature, a new or continuous cough, or a loss or change to your senses of taste or smell, must book a test through www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test
Q: Should I still get tested even if I’ve received a Covid-19 vaccine?
A: Yes, because there may still be a risk of people who have been vaccinated being able to transmit the virus to others who may be at an increased risk of becoming seriously ill.
Q: How often should I get tested?
A: It is recommended that when participating in routine asymptomatic testing you should book two appointments per week. Try to make them between 3 and 5 days apart where possible.
Q: Can I participate in asymptomatic testing if I’ve already had Covid-19?
A: If you have previously tested positive for COVID-19 by PCR you do not need to perform LFD testing for a period of 90 days after the positive PCR result. This is because the LFD test may give a false positive result by picking up previous infection, resulting in unnecessary further testing and self-isolation for you and your household.
Q: Is testing compulsory for those who are eligible to use this facility?
A: No, asymptomatic testing is optional but encouraged as it helps break the chain of transmission.
Q: Where do I go to access the appointment?
A: Access to the testing facility at the Civic Centre is through the entrance beneath the Council Chamber and visitors should follow instructions of staff upon arrival. Strict measures are in place to allow for social distancing alongside best hygiene practices within the site to protect visitors, operators, and other staff.
From May 17, supervised testing will relocate to the Arches Reception. Please access the facility from Ceremonial Way.
Q: Is there parking available at the Civic Centre?
A: Anyone attending an appointment at the testing centre will be able to park free of charge at the Civic Centre surface car park.
Q: When are the testing centres open?
A: The opening hours of the testing centre at the Civic Centre are: 8am-4pm Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
At Westgate College, testing is available between 8am-4pm Tuesday and Friday.
From May 17, bookings at Westgate College will be paused, but testing will be available between 8:30am-4:30pm, Monday to Friday, from the Arches Reception at the Civic Centre.
Testing facilities will be closed on Bank Holidays.
Q: What do I need to bring with me?
A: Those attending appointments are requested to bring an internet-enabled device with them, such as a smartphone or tablet, if they are able to do so.
To make recording your tests quicker and easier you can set up an NHS account in advance at http://gov.uk/enter-lateral-flow-test. This is not linked to the NHS Covid-19 app.
Please remember face coverings should be worn, unless exempt, when attending the test centre.
We advise you do not eat or drink 30minutes before you arrive.
Q: I don’t have a mobile phone or tablet – can I still come for a test?
A: Yes, we will be able to help you to register your test barcode at your appointment.
Q: Do I need to download the NHS Covid-19 app to register my test?
A: No, you only need to be able to visit http://gov.uk/enter-lateral-flow-test to register your test. There is no link between this and the Covid-19 app.
Q: Will my employer be able to access my test result?
A: No. The test result is confidential to you. There is no link between the local authority testing appointment booking system and the NHS system used to register your test and process your result. You can find out more about how your NHS data related to Covid-19 testing is handled here:
Q: I run my own business, am I able to set up and operate a testing centre?
A: Government is expanding testing programmes, including offering workplace testing to both public and private organisations. If private organisations are interested in taking part, they can register this via: https://www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests?priority-taxon=774cee22-d896-44c1-a611-e3109cce8eae
This is currently available for businesses with more than 50 employees and whose staff cannot work from home.