Good-quality testing can help provide us with greater certainty during these unprecedented times. Testing has been expanded to people who have coronavirus-like symptoms to see if they currently have the virus.
The priority remains to test patients to inform their clinical diagnosis. However, the following groups are also being tested:
- all essential workers including NHS and social care workers with symptoms
- anyone over 65 with symptoms
- anyone with symptoms whose work cannot be done from home (for example, construction workers, shop workers, emergency plumbers and delivery drivers)
- anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus and lives with any of those identified above
Additionally, testing also includes:
- social care workers and residents in care homes (with or without symptoms) both to investigate outbreaks and, following successful pilots, as part of a rolling programme to test all care homes
- NHS workers and patients without symptoms, in line with NHS England guidance
Testing is most effective within 3 days of symptoms developing.
Guidance on coronavirus testing, including eligibility, how to get tested and the different types of test available can be found here.