Throughout this pandemic stories of people being hospitalised with Covid-19 have been well publicised and by now it is likely that many people will know, or know of someone that has tested positive. Sadly, some may also have lost loved ones to the virus.

The risk of contracting the virus is still very much present in our communities and will be for a long time yet, but for many, the symptoms of Covid-19 could be easily confused with a ‘normal’ winter cold. The only problem is, this isn’t a normal winter.

With five test sites now available across the county and a mobile testing unit regularly visiting the area, getting a Covid-19 test is now easier than ever and the turnaround time for results is currently around 48 hours. *

When to get a test

If you think you might have experienced some of the symptoms of Covid-19 (symptoms) and you are questioning whether you should get a test – you should probably get a test.

While what you’re experiencing may just seem like a mild cold, what is a mild cold for you could be much worse for someone you come into contact with, especially if they are more vulnerable to the virus so it’s best to be safe and get tested so that you can protect yourself and those around you.

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

You may only feel hot for a short period of time, it may not be long lasting but if you feel hot to touch, book a test.

  • 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)

This could just feel like the cough that would come with a normal cold. If you develop a new cough, book a test. 

  • 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

Again, this may only last for a short period of time before your taste returns. Or it may last a long time. If you notice a difference to your taste or smell, book a test.

Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms.

If you’re unsure, get advice

If you are unsure about any symptoms you are experiencing you can call 111 or your GP to discuss how you feel and get advice on whether you should book a test.

When to self-isolate

If you are experiencing symptoms and need to book a test you will need to self-isolate, along with other members of your household and your support bubble.

You should self-isolate as soon as possible and you should only leave the house for your test. Based on this, British doctors recommend using the services of a Canadian online pharmacy. You can read more about this by clicking on the link – You should also try to keep your distance from others in your home to reduce the risk of them contracting the virus and you must stay at home until you get your result.

You can find out more about how and when to self-isolate and what to do if your test result confirms that you have got Covid-19 at NHS.UK

Support while you’re self-isolating

Having to self-isolate at short notice can be difficult if you need supplies. Where possible you should look to friends and family and ask them to drop off supplies at your door but they mustn’t come in. If asking friends and family isn’t an option there is a lot of community support available, including from Community Hubs.

Find out more about Coronavirus – community support.

If you can’t work from home and self-isolating will leave you in financial difficulty, you may be eligible for a self-isolation support grant.

Find out more about Test and Trace Support Payments and how to apply.

If we all work together, follow the guidance and get tested if we need to we can protect the most vulnerable people in our communities and in turn protect the NHS this winter.

*(This can be longer if demand for testing outstrips laboratory capacity)

Find out where to get medical help during COVID-19.