Testing for people without symptoms
If you do not have symptoms but need to book a test, this will be a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test. The test can be done at a local LFD testing site or in some situations, at home.
Why we test people who don't have symptoms
One in three people with Covid-19 do not show symptoms. LFD testing can help us to identify positive cases we would otherwise miss due to a person not showing symptoms. Identifying infectious individuals early, and those they have been in close contact with, and then isolating them can significantly reduce transmission of the virus.
County Durham's rapid Lateral Flow Device (LFD) Community Testing Programme offers rapid COVID-19 tests for people without symptoms.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, do not use this service. You can find information on booking a test if you have symptoms on the Testing for people with symptoms.
Get free regular testing
In line with the roadmap out of lockdown we are offering free, regular LFD testing through our Lateral Flow Device community testing programme. We suggest you take a test twice a week. Testing is free and must be booked, available appointments will show up on the booking page.
When and where you can get a test
Tests slots are available to book at the following venues:
- Annfield Plain Library, DH9 8EZ
- Belmont Library, DH1 2AA
- Brandon Library, DH7 8NN
- Chilton Library, DL17 0EX
- Easington Colliery Library, SR8 3PN
- Lanchester Library, DH7 0NT
- Newton Aycliffe Youth Centre, DL5 4HT
- Pelton Library, DH2 1HS
- Spennymoor Leisure Centre, DL16 6DB
- Teesdale Hub, DL12 8TD
- Trimdon Library, TS29 6PY
- Wolsingham Library, DL13 3AB
- Woodhouse Close Library, DL14 6JX
If you would prefer to do your tests at home, you can now order home testing kits to be delivered to your home or you can collect LFD kits at a community collect site. Find your nearest collection point.
All of our LFD testing sites are registered as collection sites for home testing kits. Local pharmacies can also sign up to become a collection point and you can check for the closest collection point to you or order home tests at Gov.uk: Order a coronavirus rapid lateral flow test.
You must always register the result of your home test at Gov.uk: Report a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test result.
Even if you plan to take all your tests at home, why don't you consider taking your first test at one of our testing sites? Our staff can give you helpful guidance to make sure you are doing the test right and may make you feel more confident once you begin testing at home.
What the test involves
The test involves a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud. You will do the swab yourself, but trained staff will be on hand when testing at one of our LFD testing sites.
Once you have done the test, your swab will be processed on a lateral flow device which provides a result within 30 minutes. Your results will be shared with you within an hour of completing your test by text, email or phone call - you do not need to wait at the test centre for your results.
Arriving for the test
Staff at the test centres will make sure people socially distance and face coverings are worn (unless exempt). Staff will wear appropriate PPE and hand sanitiser will be available.
- Try and book at a testing centre that is either closest to your home or your place of work to limit your travel.
- We advise you do not eat or drink 30 minutes before you arrive.
- You should attend your appointment on your own or accompanied by your carer if required and you must wear a face covering unless exempt.
- On the day you will be greeted by a member of staff and they will talk you through the full process.
- You will need to register your attendance on the national NHS testing website. Where possible you should do this before your appointment at Register a coronavirus test. If you are unable to do this at home, we will support you to register your test at your appointment.
When you should not attend a test
Do not attend a test if you:
- are unwell - if you are absent from work due to illness you should remain at home. Once you are well enough to return to work you can resume testing.
- are self-isolating - if you have been identified as a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case and asked to self-isolate, you must continue to do so. Once you have completed your period of self-isolation you can resume testing.
- have previously tested positive for Covid-19 - if you have had a positive PCR test for Covid-19 within the last 90 days, you are likely to have developed some immunity. You will be exempt from testing by both PCR and LFD unless you develop new symptoms.
Accuracy of the test
The Department of Health and Social Care has said extensive clinical evaluation have shown the tests are accurate and sensitive enough to be used for asymptomatic testing in the community. However, no test is 100% accurate and there's still a chance you can be infectious, even if you test negative. This is why following a negative result, it is important that you still continue to follow all national guidelines regarding social distancing, wearing face coverings and washing your hands regularly.
Your test results
Your results will be shared with you within an hour of completing your test by text, email or phone call - you do not need to wait at the test centre for your results.
What happens if you test positive
If you test positive, using a lateral flow test or home test, you must self-isolate immediately for 10 days, along with everyone in your household and support bubble. Contact tracing will be initiated through the NHS or local contact tracing team and your contacts will be advised to isolate for 10 days.
You and your contacts may be able to claim a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment - see Apply for a test and trace support payment.
You can also get support if you need to self-isolate - see Get help if you're self-isolating.
What happens if you test negative
If you test negative, please continue to follow all national guidelines regarding social distancing, wearing face coverings and washing your hands regularly.
A negative test does not change the current rules we all need to follow. It's also important to remember that as with all tests, there are false negatives and the test may not pick up that you have the virus.
Ask a question
If this page doesn't answer your question, you can use our Covid-19: general enquiry form and we will get back to you with a response as soon as possible.