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Do you know the differences between the two tests for COVID-19?

A graphic outlining the key differences between PCR and LFT tests for COVID-19. PCR outlined in pink, LFT in Blue Published Thursday, 19th August 2021

Do you know the differences between the two tests for COVID-19?

It is now even more important to get tested for Covid-19 as we are all mixing more and slowly getting back to normal. But are you clear about which test to take and when? 

A PCR test should be taken as soon as possible:

  • if you have any Covid-19 symptoms, even if they are mild.
  • if you are identified as a close contact of someone with Covid-19.
  • to confirm the result if you have done a rapid lateral flow (LFT) test and had a positive result.

Lateral Flow Tests (LFT) can be taken regularly if you do not have symptoms and it is recommended to do this twice weekly.

About one in three people who have Coronavirus might not have any symptoms but can still infect others. Even if you’re vaccinated, there’s still a chance you can pass COVID-19 on, so you should keep getting tested regularly. Regular LFT tests can help stop individual cases from becoming outbreaks now that social distancing limits have been lifted.

Elizabeth Altay, Public Health Consultant at Worcestershire County Council said: “We encourage anyone who has been identified as a close contact of someone with Covid-19, or who has any one of these 3 symptoms: a high temperature, a new continuous cough, a loss of sense of smell or taste to take a PCR test.

By doing this we will be helping to protect the progress we have all made in the pandemic, keeping future restrictions to a minimum, protecting our loved ones and the community.”

Both tests are free and available online: Book a PCR test or Order lateral flow tests online or you can visit a testing site.

LFT test kits can also be collected from your local library, pharmacy, or workplace. Where to pick up lateral flow tests near you