Manchester, along with the rest of Greater Manchester, has now been chosen to use a new form of testing. The tests are primarily designed for people who do not have symptoms of coronavirus (asymptomatic testing) and as the tests do not have to be sent away to a laboratory to be analysed, the results are available more quickly – approx 20 to 30 mins.
Asymptomatic testing will supplement existing symptomatic testing.
We are intending for this to be a targeted programme of regular testing, focusing on groups who are at higher risk of getting coronavirus, and those places where the potential risks of getting coronavirus are greatest.
Priority groups are likely to include: care homes, health and social care staff and school staff.
The first phase of it has started with Care Homes with a view to rolling out to more priority groups early in the New Year.
When can I get tested?
You will be notified of how to get tested if you are in one of the groups being offered testing, so please do not get in touch to try and book a test at this time.
Once testing is set up in your place of work, or there is a community site established where you can access testing you will be contacted directly with details about how you can get tested.
How can I get tested if I have coronavirus symptoms?
If you have coronavirus symptoms, book a test or by phone 119.
What are the asymptomatic tests?
Lateral flow tests (LFT) are rapid turnaround tests that are processed on site without any need for sending samples to a laboratory. The staff at the test sites have received special training to carry out the processing. Results are ready very quickly – normally within 30 minutes.
How accurate is the new lateral flow test?
Extensive clinical evaluation shows lateral flow tests are accurate and sensitive enough to be used in the community, including for asymptomatic people.
Lateral flow tests have been found to be highly sensitive in identifying those with high viral loads, meaning they are effective in identifying the cases who are infectious and are most likely to transmit the disease. The fast turnaround also allows positive people to isolate quickly, also reducing spread.
What happens if I test positive?
As part of the process, if you test positive using a ‘lateral flow’ test you must self-isolate for 10 days and book a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm if you are infected with the virus (the message you receive won’t automatically advise you to do this).
This is because there is a possibility that some people who test positive with LFT are “false positive” and the gold standard PCR test will identify these.
If the confirmatory test result is negative, then you will no longer be required to self-isolate, and your contacts will no longer need to quarantine. You will still need to adhere to the national restrictions in place at that time (e.g. lockdown restrictions).If the confirmatory test comes back positive, then you must continue to isolate for 10 days from the date of your initial ‘lateral flow’ test.
Everyone in your household will be a ‘close contact’ and must also self-isolate for 10 days. Contact tracing will be initiated through NHS Test and Trace or local contact tracing team and other close contacts will be advised to quarantine for 10 days.
What support is available if I have to isolate
Please ask family, friends, neighbours or anyone else that you can call on first if you need support to isolate. This will help us to prioritise support for people who have no other means of supporting themselves. If you need support, we can help you to:
- find an emergency foodbank
- get help with your shopping
- ask for prescriptions to be collected
- chat to a friendly volunteer because you are lonely
- improve your mental health
- get help with an alcohol issue or stopping smoking
- ask for advice about an employment issue
- Access the self isolation support grants available
What happens if I test negative?
You must continue to follow the preventative measures currently recommended for stopping the spread of the virus.
You must continue to stay at home and avoid meeting people you do not live with, except for specific purposes. To protect yourself and others, you must remember:
Hands. Face. Space.
Hands – wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water often, and as soon as you get home – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
Space – Stay at least 2 metres away from anyone you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble