Release date: 9 April 2021
Symptom-free COVID-19 test kits that can be used at home are now available.
From today (Friday 9 April), home testing is being made available to everyone in England as part of a government drive to encourage everyone who does not have coronavirus symptoms to get tested twice a week.
It’s one of a number of means of accessing rapid testing now available.
Order kits to your home
Order kits to be delivered direct to your home from the government website or by calling 119.
Collect kits to test at home
Collection points are available at community sites and rapid test sites across West Sussex.
You can use the site finders to locate a collection point close to you. They are updated regularly as new sites come on board.
Book an assisted test
Assisted symptom-free tests are available at participating pharmacies and test centres across Sussex via the local Community Testing programme.
If you don’t feel confident taking the test by yourself at home, or you are taking one for the first time, an assisted test is recommended as staff can answer any questions you may have.
This programme is run as a partnership between West Sussex County Council, East Sussex County Council and Brighton & Hove City Council.
You can use the site finder to locate a testing site or participating pharmacy close to you.
Many businesses are offering testing in the workplace through government schemes for employees who cannot work from home.
These include testing sites, where employees can take a supervised test, and workplace collect, where employees can pick up a box of tests to use at home.
Businesses have until 12 April 2021 to register for the Government COVID-19 workplace testing scheme.
The scheme is free and open to businesses registered in England with 10 or more employees who cannot work from home.
Register to order free lateral flow tests for your employees.
Testing is still available for specific settings such as schools, colleges, universities, and the care sector. More information about testing in general is available on the gov.uk website.
Why get tested?
Dr Tony Hill, Interim Director of Public Health at West Sussex County Council, said: “Rapid testing helps identify when someone has the virus but isn’t displaying symptoms and so could be spreading it without knowing.
“One in three people with coronavirus show no symptoms. So even if you feel fine, making it a habit to get tested twice a week can help find positive cases and prevent the spread.
“Together with vaccines, hands, face, space and fresh air, testing is a core part of returning to a life as normal as possible, as quickly as possible.”
Positive test results
If you test positive you must self-isolate immediately, along with everyone in your household, for 10 days after the day of the test.
Contact tracing will be initiated through NHS Test and Trace and any contacts will be advised to self-isolate as well. For this reason, it is very important that you provide correct and full details to NHS Test and Trace.
As soon as possible, you should also book a follow-up PCR test.
If you take a PCR test within two days of the positive rapid test result, and the PCR result is negative, you will no longer be required to self-isolate.
Further information is available on the gov.uk website on stay at home guidance for households with possible COVID-19 infection.
Negative test results
If you test negative this does not completely rule out infection with COVID-19, as there can be false negative results.
To protect yourself and others, you must continue to follow the current restrictions in place and remember: hands, face, space, fresh air.
• Hands – wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water often, and as soon as you get home. Use hand sanitiser or gel if soap and water are not available.
• Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult and you will meet people you do not normally meet.
• Space – stay at least two metres away from anyone you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble.
• Fresh air – letting in air by opening a window can disperse Covid-19 particles, while fresh air outdoors dilutes the virus and you have more space to physically distance.
Testing if you have symptoms
If you have any of the COVID-19 symptoms (fever, new persistent cough, or loss of taste or smell), you must self-isolate immediately and book a COVID-19 test through the NHS or call 119 making clear you have symptoms. These tests are arranged specifically for people with symptoms and delivered in a way to avoid spread of the virus.
Support available if you need to self-isolate
If you need to self-isolate, support is available from the West Sussex Community Hub.
You may also be eligible for support under the Test and Trace support payment scheme. Full details are on the gov.uk website.
You can also get free delivery from your local pharmacy during your 10-day isolation period if you have no other way to get your medicines. You will need your NHS Test and Trace Account ID when requesting the service.
Vaccinations and testing
Testing is in addition to the vaccination programme, which is led by the NHS. When you are invited to do so, it is extremely important that you book to have your COVID-19 vaccination.
You should still be tested if you are able to, even after you have been vaccinated.
Please also remember to stick to the hands, face, space, and fresh air guidance (see above) after your vaccination.
See the gov.uk website for more information about testing in general.