Covid-19 testing FAQ’s

Last updated: 23/2/2021

LFT and PCR Testing

Who can get tested?

Tests are available to anyone who carries out essential work or caring during lockdown regardless of their age. Children under 18 will need parental consent.

How do I know if I am eligible?

There is no specific list for those who can come forward for non-symptomatic test. The non-symptomatic testing sites in Cheshire and Merseyside are prioritised for people who must mix with others to carry out essential work or caring during lockdown.

This can include, but is not limited to:

  • Taxi Drivers and other public transport workers
  • Essential retail workers
  • Paid or unpaid carers
  • Delivery Drivers
  • Childcare providers
  • Refuse collectors
  • Blue light services
  • Pharmacists
  • Postal workers

What do I do if I have symptoms?

If you believe you have the symptoms of COVID-19 (continuous cough, high-temperature or loss of taste or smell) you must self-isolate and book a symptomatic (PCR) test via or by calling 119. You must only leave the house to get your test and must continue to self-isolate while you wait for your result.

How quickly will I get my result?

This depends on the type of test you had. The ‘lateral flow’ tests 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 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.

How many tests can I have?

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

Do I have to have a test?

No. We are hoping that many key workers and carers will recognise the benefits of continuing to get tested; to reduce the spread of the virus in their communities.

What tests are being used for SMART?

Lateral flow tests 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 usually receive your results by text or email soon after you leave the test centre.

What happens if I test positive?

If you test positive using a ‘lateral flow’ test you must self-isolate and book a PCR test to confirm if you are infected with the virus  – the message you receive won’t automatically advise you to do this. You can do this at:

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 PCR test result is negative, then you, or your contacts, will no longer be required to self-isolate.

If the confirmatory PCR test comes back positive, then you must continue to isolate for 10 days since your initial ‘lateral flow’ test. Contact tracing will be initiated through the NHS or local contact tracing team and other close contacts will be advised to quarantine for 14 days.

What happens if I test negative?

You will continue to follow the preventative measures currently recommended for stopping the spread of the virus.

To protect yourself and others, you must remember: Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives.

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.

How does it work with the NHS Test and Trace app?

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 this new method of testing. NHS COVID-19 app users should input their results into the app.

I have been offered a test which I have to pay for – is this one of yours?

No. All the COVID-19 tests that are part of the scheme are free.