From today (Tuesday 11 January), those recording a positive result from a rapid (LFD) test will no longer need to take a confirmatory PCR test.
The UK Health Security Agency says the changes are a temporary measure while Covid-19 rates remain high, and will help manage demand for PCR tests.
Under the new guidance, anyone who does not have symptoms – asymptomatic – but has received a positive rapid test result must report it via GOV.UK and self isolate immediately. However, a follow up PCR test is no longer required.
People who test positive will be able to leave self isolation 7 days after the date of their initial positive test if they receive 2 negative rapid test results, 24 hours apart, on days 6 and 7.
Please note that due to unprecedented demand nationally, home rapid Covid-19 test kits are currently limited to 1 box per person. The supply received at collection points in Wolverhampton runs out as quickly as it becomes available and people are asked to only collect kits if they absolutely need to at this time.
Instead, people are advised to order a home test kit via GOV.UK in the first instance. The process is quick and easy and people will receive a box of 7 tests, delivered via Royal Mail, in as little as 24 hours.
People with symptoms of Covid-19 – symptomatic – are reminded that they must self isolate immediately and book a PCR test online at GOV.UK or by calling 119.
Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “Rapid testing helps to identify Covid-19 in people without any symptoms, and this is really important because we know that around a third of people with Covid-19 are asymptomatic, but could still infect others.
“This new guidance will ensure that people who test positive after taking a rapid test do not need to take a PCR test, and can start their self isolation period immediately. It should also mean that PCR tests are more readily available to those who need them most.”
While availability of home rapid test kits is currently limited, people without symptoms of Covid-19 can still get a rapid test at the walk in centres at the Jamia Masjid Bilal, Newhampton Road, open from 10am to 7pm daily, and the Civic Centre, open on Mondays and Thursdays from 8am to 6pm and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8am to 5pm. Supervised rapid testing is also available at a number of pharmacies – for details, please visit Pharmacy testing.
Latest figures show there were 1,894 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the last 7 days. That means 4,982 people tested positive for the virus in that same period – though the true number of cases will likely be higher.