How do I report my Covid lateral flow test result and what happens if I test positive?

CORONAVIRUS tests are available to everyone to limit the spread of the virus.

There are two types that you can take to determine whether or not you are infected.

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The rapid lateral flow tests have a quick turnaround time, are often done at home and the result must be reported within 24 hours.

Lateral flow tests give a quick result – similar to a pregnancy test.

As these are usually completed at home, you must report the result as soon as possible.

The other test is a PCR test, which is the free NHS test that can be taken if you have symptoms or if you have a positive lateral flow test result.

PCR is the most accurate test and takes up to 48 hours to get the results back.

If you live in an area where surge testing has been rolled out, you can access PCR tests from some testing sites. Your local council will be able to tell you where you can access these.

How do I report a Covid test result?

Lateral flow: The result of a lateral flow test has to be reported, even if it is negative.

You cannot report a result after more than 24 hours and can only report one result at a time.

To report the result online, you need the barcode on the test strip or the ID number printed under it (the test strip is the part of the kit that shows your result).

A mobile phone number will also need to be supplied so a confirmation text can be sent.

You can also report your test result by calling the phone number in your test kit’s instructions.

PCR: You will receive your result by text message or email.

You are encouraged to then enter your test result into the NHS app, regardless of whether you are negative or positive.

What happens if I test positive for Covid-19?

If you get a positive lateral flow test you should:

  • Follow up with a PCR test to confirm the test result.
  • Self-isolate immediately, along with anyone you live with
  • Report your rapid lateral flow test result on GOV.UK

If your PCR test comes back as positive, you and your household must self-isolate.

The self-isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day you had the test, if you do not have symptoms) and the next 10 full days.

If you were already self-isolating and had a test because you've been in close contact with someone who tested positive, your self-isolation period restarts if you test positive.

You may be contacted by NHS Test and Trace or someone who works for your local council who will ask for information about where you've been recently and who you've been in close contact with.

You should also inform those in your support bubble and your workplace or school/ college.


Do I have to self-isolate after I test positive for Covid-19?

If you test positive for Covid, you and everyone you live with must isolate and stay at home.

It's a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive or are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. You could be fined if you don't.

You should not leave the house for any reason, including for work or to go to the shops.

Self-isolate immediately if you have symptoms, have had a positive test result or someone you live with has Covid or has tested positive.

You must also isolate if someone in your support bubble has Covid or has tested positive, or you arrive in the UK from a country with a high coronavirus risk (red list).

If you have not had symptoms, you must self-isolate for 10 days from your test date.

If you have symptoms, you must self-isolate for 10 days from the day your symptoms started, if earlier than when you took your test.

What should I do if I still have symptoms after a negative Covid-19 test result?

Those who still feel unwell or have symptoms after a negative test should stay at home until they feel better.

If symptoms worsen or do not go away, contact a GP.

You should isolate after a negative test if someone you live with has symptoms, tested positive, or hasn't yet been tested, you've got to go into hospital, you've been told to by NHS Test and Trace, or you've travelled from abroad.

The NHS website advises that if you're being sick, have diarrhoea or have a high temperature, stay at home until 48 hours after they've stopped.

You should check with your employer before going back to work.

If you get coronavirus symptoms after the test, get tested again.

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