Covid tests… The concept isn’t a new one, but which to do and when can be all kinds of confusing. It’s tricky, the rules change and, trust us, we also get as confused as everyone else at times.
Hopefully you are at least halfway to being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by now – or have plans to be (and don’t forget, there are walk in vaccination clinics popping up all over Sussex). But it is important to remember that vaccination doesn’t mean you cannot catch or spread coronavirus.
Vaccines goes hand in hand with testing as our main lines of defence.
Life is a lot more open than we have experienced in months, and this means a lot more close proximity, surface touching and opportunity for transmission.
There are two types of testing available to us for Covid-19. The easiest way to differentiate is whether or not you’re showing symptoms, or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive.
Symptoms or identified as a close contact – PCR test at a test site or by post
No symptoms – Lateral flow testing at home or assisted tests in pharmacies
Got that? Good. But fear not – we have more details below!

Testing when you have symptoms

Feeling off? A high temperature, new cough or a loss of taste or smell are the main, well known symptoms of coronavirus. Any sign of these (even if you think they’re mild) means you should book a PCR test asap. Doctors are also reporting headaches and muscular pains as symptoms experienced by people with cases of the Delta variant, and should not dismissed as irrelevant.
PCR tests can be done at a test site, or you can order them to do yourself at home and post back for analysis. They take longer to get results from, so you must isolate until you hear back, which is typically within 24-36 hours. Once you receive your results you will receive further advice on what to do next.

Testing when you feel fine

If you’re feeling great – awesome.
But to be sure you’re not carrying Covid without knowing it (and 1 in 3 people can be!) it’s important that you keep up a regular self-testing routine. Twice a week is the recommended amount we should all be doing, and this is particularly important if you are going out to work or socialise.
Lateral flow test kits are readily available at various locations throughout the county. You can find your nearest pick up location by entering your postcode into the location finder on the NHS website, or ordered online from the website and delivered to your door. There are some new style testing kits also starting to arrive, which look a little different and work slightly differently too – so if your tests don’t look the same as you have been used to, make sure you read the instructions thoroughly!
They are quick and pretty simple to do (if a little uncomfortable) but you can also book an assisted test if you’d like some extra help. You can find out more about booking assisted tests on the East Sussex County Council website.
You will know your result within 30 minutes – if negative, great, you can now go about your day as normal. However, if it is positive you need to book a PCR test as outlined in the section above, and isolate as you would if you had symptoms.
The testing services we have in place are there to help protect everyone and keep life moving forward – but it is down to you to take part, book your appointments and order your home test kits.
We can do this, together.
For all the details on coronavirus testing in East Sussex, visit the dedicated pages on the ESCC website.