Test, trace, self-isolate

Updated 17.01.22

From Monday 17 January 2022, people with COVID-19 in England can end their self-isolation after 5 full days, as long as they test negative on day 5 and day 6. Government statement.

Symptoms of Covid-19

The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

More information about symptoms can be found on the NHS website.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 you should book a PCR Test, please refer to the Which test to use drop down menu below for further information

You can be infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) and not have any symptoms. This is known as asymptomatic COVID. You may be advised to take a Rapid LFD test, please refer to theWhich test to use drop down menu below for further information.

Which test to use

There are different tests you can get to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19). The test you need depends on why you're getting tested. The two main tests are:

  • PCR tests: mainly for people with symptoms, they're sent to a lab to be checked
  • Rapid lateral flow tests – only for people who do not have symptoms, they give a quick result using a device similar to a pregnancy test.

Both tests are free.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19

Get a PCR test as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms, even if mild:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

Stay at home until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.

Please book your PCR test by calling 119 or online, you can book a test at a walk in centre or arrange for a test to be delivered to your home.

Rapid lateral flow tests if you do not have symptoms

About 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others. This is known as asymptomatic COVID.

Rapid tests help to check if someone has COVID-19. If people test positive and self-isolate, it helps stop the virus spreading.

You may carry out a Rapid lateral flow test if:

  • You are advised to do so by NHS test and trace
  • You are going in to hospital
  • Travelling abroad from England (you will need to pay for this test)
  • If you are taking part in surge testing due to an outbreak
  • You are visiting a care home
  • For work purposes
  • You are visiting someone who is at higher risk of catching COVID-19

From Tuesday 11 January 2022 in England, people who receive a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test result for coronavirus (COVID-19) will be required to self-isolate immediately and will not be required to take a confirmatory PCR test.

Anyone who receives a positive LFD test result should report their result on GOV.UK and must self-isolate immediately but will not need to take a follow-up PCR test.

Some people, however, will still be required to take a follow up PCR test:

  • People who are eligible for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment (TTSP) will still be asked to take a confirmatory PCR if they receive a positive LFD result, to enable them to access financial support.
  • People participating in research or surveillance programmes may still be asked to take a follow-up PCR test, according to the research or surveillance protocol.
  • Some people in England who are at particular risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 have been identified by the NHS as being potentially eligible for new treatments. They will be receiving a PCR test kit at home by mid-January to use if they develop symptoms or if they get a positive LFD result, as they may be eligible for new treatments if they receive a positive PCR result. This group should use these priority PCR tests when they have symptoms as it will enable prioritised laboratory handling.

Lateral flow tests are taken by people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms. People who have symptoms should still book a PCR test.

Local test sites & collection points

Please book your PCR test by calling 119 or on the Government website, you can book a test at a walk in centre or arrange for a test to be delivered to your home.

PCR Testing Sites

  • Blackburn Hospital Car Park: Drive through test site 08:00-18:00, 7 days a week
  • Penny Street Car Park Blackburn: 08:00-18:00, 7 days a week.
  • Railway Road Darwen: 08:00-18:00, 7 days a week

PCR Mobile Test Units

Pleasington Playing Fields Blackburn

January: The mobile test unit will be open from 10:00 – 15:00 on the following dates: 3,6,7,10,11,12,13,14,17,18,19,20,21,24,26,27,28,31

Ewood Park Blackburn

January: The mobile test unit will be open from 10:00 – 15:00 on the following dates: open on 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 closed on 24, open on 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31

The Council has two rapid lateral coronavirus testing sites that offer assisted testing if you need help to do your test.

  • The Mall (opposite M&S) Blackburn: 08:00-16:00 Monday to Friday.
  • The Works Railway Road Darwen: 08:00-16:00 Monday to Friday

In addition there are a number of community collection points where tests can be collected depending on availability

  • The Mall (opposite M&S) Blackburn: 08:00-16:00 Monday to Friday.
  • The Works Railway Road Darwen: 08:00-16:00 Monday to Friday

Community Collection Points within Community Centres

  • Little Harwood Community Centre: 10:30-12:00 Monday
  • Accrington Road Community Centre: 10:30-12:00 Monday
  • Ivy Street Community Centre: 10:30-12:00 Tuesday
  • Darwen Valley Community Centre: 10:30-12:00 Tuesday
  • Mill Hill Community Centre: 10:30-12:00 Tuesday
  • Greenfields Community Centre: 09:00-14:30 Monday to Friday
  • Higher Croft Children’s Centre: 08:00-18:00 Monday to Friday

Community Collection Points within Community Libraries

  • Blackburn Library
    • 10:00-19:00 Monday
    • 10:00-17:00 Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
    • 10:00-14:00 Saturday
  • Darwen Library
    • 10:00-19:00 Monday
    • 13:00-17:00 Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
    • 10:00-14:00 Saturday
  • Cherry Tree Library
    • 14:00-16:30 Monday
    • 10:00-12:30 Wednesday
    • 14:00-16:30 Wednesday
    • 14:00-16:30 Friday
    • 10:00-12:30 Saturday
  • Mill Hill Library
    • 10:00-12:00 Wednesday and Thursday
SMART testing in the workplace

Information on smart testing in the workplace.

Test results and contact tracing

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19

From Tuesday 11 January 2022, in England, people who do not have symptoms and receive a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test result for coronavirus (COVID-19) will be required to self-isolate immediately and will not be required to take a confirmatory PCR test. Anyone who receives a positive Rapid LFD test result should report their result on GOV.UK and must self-isolate immediately but will not need to take a follow-up PCR test, unless you are eligible for the £500 Test and Trace Support payment or part of a Government research or treatment programme.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and have a positive PCR result

You will usually get a text or email with your result. If you use the NHS Covid-19 app, you may also get your results in the app.

If you test positive you have a legal duty to self-isolate. If you do not self-isolate you may be fined at least £1,000 and up to £10,000 for multiple breaches.

On-line tracing form

You will be issued an individual online link. This will link with the 8-character account ID allocated to your positive result through CTAS, the national Contact Tracing & Advice System. This will be sent to you by text or email shortly after you receive notification of your positive test result.

Before you complete the form gather together all the information you’ll need:

  • Your name, date of birth and postcode
  • The details of the people you live with
  • All the places you've been to in the last two weeks, such as a workplace or school
  • And the names and contact details of any people you were in close contact with before your symptoms started (if you know these details).
  • Allocate around 30 minutes when you won’t be interrupted and can complete the form in one go

You will have 8 hours after testing positive to complete the online contact tracing form, before Test & Trace operators telephone you – please note that the ‘clock stops’ daily at 8pm until 8am the next day. This means that if you receive your CTAS account ID and contact tracing link at 6pm on a Tuesday, you would have until 2pm on the Wednesday to complete the online contact tracing form before receiving a phone call.

If the positive Covid case is under 18 years, a parent or carer must answer the contact tracing questions over the phone, with the young person.

Anyone who doesn’t have internet access can still complete the contact tracing process over the telephone – they will be called shortly after receiving their positive test result.

The Blackburn with Darwen Test and Trace team will contact you if you have tested positive for Covid-19 and not completed the on-line form to obtain details of anyone you have been in contact with.

Blackburn with Darwen test and trace

Test and trace will initially contact you by text, phone or email.

Text messages/Calls will come from 01254 585094 or 585995. It is important that you reply to these messages and calls.

Children under 18 will be contacted by phone wherever possible and asked for their parent or guardian's permission to continue the call.

If we fail to contact you a Blackburn with Darwen public protection officer and/ or another member of our partner services will be sent to your residence in person to contact you.

Personal information

The Council will ask you:

  • Your name, date of birth and postcode
  • If you live with other people
  • Any places you've been recently, such as a workplace or school
  • Names and contact details of any people you were in close contact with before your symptoms started (if you know these details)

You will not be asked for

  • Bank details or payments
  • Details of any other accounts, such as social media
  • Passwords or PIN numbers
  • You won’t be asked to call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087

All information you provide to the Council is confidential. No one who is contacted as a result of your positive test will be told your identity.

Please read the Self-isolating section below regarding what to do if you live with or are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Self isolating

Isolation if you have COVID-19 symptoms or a positive Rapid lateral flow (LFD) or PCR test result

Stay at home and self-isolate if you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19 or if you have a positive LFD or PCR test result.

Your self-isolation period starts immediately from when your symptoms started, or, if you do not have any symptoms, from when your positive Rapid lateral flow (LFD) or PCR test was taken. Your self-isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day your test was taken if you do not have symptoms), and the next 10 full days. It may be possible to end your self-isolation earlier.

You may be able to end your self-isolation period before the end of the 10 full days. You can take a Rapid lateral flow (LFD) test from five days after the day your symptoms started (or the day your test was taken if you did not have symptoms), and another LFD test on the following day. If both these test results are negative, and you do not have a high temperature, you may end your self-isolation after the second negative test result.

Report your LFD test results after taking each test.

You should not take an LFD test before the fifth day of your self-isolation period, and you should only end your self-isolation after you have had two negative LFD tests taken on consecutive days. You should stop testing after you have had two consecutive negative test results.

Further information can be found in the Government guidance

There is additional guidance for those working in health and social care settings.

Isolation if you live in the same household or are a close contact of someone testing positive

You are legally required to self-isolate for 10 days if:

  • You live in the same household as someone testing positive with COVID-19 You are aged 18 years 6 months or over and you are not fully vaccinated*
  • You have been notified by NHS Test and Trace that you are a contact of a person who has had a positive test result for COVID-19, you are aged 18 years 6 months or over and you are not fully vaccinated

If you are fully vaccinated and you live in the same household as someone with COVID-19

  • You are not legally required to self-isolate.
  • You are strongly advised to take a lateral flow test every day for 7 days and self-isolate if any of these test results is positive
  • You are fully vaccinated 14 days after having received two doses of an approved vaccine (such as Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca or Moderna/Spikevax) or one dose of the single-dose Janssen vaccine.

If you are aged under 18 years and 6 months and you live in the same household as someone with COVID-19

  • You are not legally required to self-isolate.
  • you are strongly advised to take an LFD test every day for 7 days, or until the household member who has COVID-19 reaches the end of their self-isolation period if this is earlier, you should self-isolate if any of these test results are positive

Stay at home: Government guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection

If you have been notified by Test and Trace that you are a close contact, but do not live with a person who has had a positive test result for COVID-19 and you are fully vaccinated

  • You are not legally required to self-isolate.
  • You are strongly advised to take an LFD test every day for 7 days, or until 10 days since their last contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19 if this is earlier. You should self-isolate if any of these test results are positive
  • You are fully vaccinated 14 days after having received two doses of an approved vaccine (such as Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca or Moderna/Spikevax) or one dose of the single-dose Janssen vaccine.

If you are aged under 18 years and 6 months and you are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

  • You are not legally required to self-isolate.
  • you are strongly advised to take an LFD test every day for 7 days or until 10 days since your last contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19 if this is earlier

Government Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person

Support for those self- isolating

Information on the financial support that may be available to you.

Support for Long Covid

The NHS have launched a Covid-19 Recovery service for those who may still be coming to terms with the impact the virus has had on both the body and mind. Find out more.

Antibody testing

Antibody testing is a key part of the Government’s testing programme and will play an increasingly important role as we move into the next phase of responding to this epidemic.

Free antibody testing is not widely available yet. It’s currently offered to NHS and care staff, as well as some hospital patients and care home residents.

Patients who are already having blood taken as part of other tests (either in hospital or in their GP practice) will be asked whether they would like an antibody test. You can read further information on the NHS website.

If you’ve had coronavirus, you can donate blood plasma to help researchers find treatments. Read more about how to get involved.