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Read our testing Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to questions you may have about community testing and in particular about symptom-free testing, which is being targeted at key workers who cannot work from home and who do not have Covid-19 symptoms.

You can see the opening times for the symptom-free testing centres.

We'll continue to update and add to these questions in response to your queries, so please check this page regularly.

 

The tests are now being targeted at people in essential roles who are providing critical services needed to keep the borough running, who cannot do that role from home.

The guidance is that everyone should stay at home, including working from home wherever possible.

Tests are available to people who live or work in St Helens Borough, regardless of their age. Children under 18 will need parental consent.

This depends on the type of test you have. The symptom-free tests (or ‘lateral flow’) are point of care tests, so don’t need to be processed in a lab. Results are ready very quickly – from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. You will receive your results by text or email soon after you leave the test centre.

The standard PCR swab test (for people who have symptoms) may take longer, as they are processed in a lab. You can expect to receive your result from a standard PCR swab test within a few days.

We advise you get tested, and get tested again. Please wait at least five days between your tests.

If you get a positive result to a symptom-free test, you must isolate for 10 days. Everyone in your household will be a 'close contact' and must also isolate for 10 days.

You will have received your result from NHS Test and Trace, via text message or email.

It stands for Systematic Meaningful Asymptomatic Repeated Testing (SMART), which is the model that is being used across the city region for community testing.

SMART testing will pick up from the successful mass testing pilot that helped Liverpool City Region to secure Tier 2 status.

One of the key objectives now is for St Helens Borough and the wider city region to stay in that Tier, or even move down into Tier 1.

It has 3 clear aims:

  • 'test to protect' our most vulnerable and those who care for them. This includes care homes, those identified as extremely vulnerable and their carers.
  • ‘test to release’ people from self-isolating earlier than the guidelines advice, allowing them to return to key roles and employment.
  • ‘test to enable the borough to reopen sooner and more safely to support people, jobs, and businesses. This could include testing for those who work in leisure and hospitality.

We are encouraging people to get tested before mixing with others so we can go about our everyday lives safely, opening up the economy and getting back to the things we love across our borough.

Symptom-free testing uses lateral flow tests, which are rapid turnaround tests that are processed at the community testing sites without any need for sending samples to a laboratory. The staff at the testing sites have received special training to carry out the processing. Results are ready very quickly – from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. You will receive your results by text or email soon after you leave the test centre.

Absolutely not. We are hoping that many people will recognise the benefits of getting involved in symptom-free community testing to reduce the spread of the virus in their communities and help them get back to the things they love.

You will receive your result from NHS Test and Trace, via text message and email.

If you test positive using a symptom-free (or 'lateral flow') test, you must isolate for 10 days. Everyone in your household will be a 'close contact' and must also isolate for 10 days.

Eligible individuals who test positive through community testing will be entitled to the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment in the same way as a regular swab test through NHS Test and Trace. Please note the government has laid down eligibility criteria. Find out more and apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment.

If you are isolated by coronavirus, are vulnerable and need help with things like picking up food shopping, essential supplies or medication, you can call the St Helens Together helpline on 01744 676767 to find out what support may be available for you.

You will continue to follow the preventative measures currently recommended for stopping the spread of the virus. St Helens Borough is currently under a national lockdown.

To protect yourself and others, you must remember:

  • 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.
  • Limit your contacts – you must not mix with other households indoors or outdoors, unless they're in your support or childcare bubble.

Positive results from tests will be collected by NHS Test and Trace and published as part of the daily case numbers, including how many positive cases are detected with the symptom-free method of testing. NHS Covid-19 app users should input their results into the app.