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Our online benefit claim and calculator will not be available between 7.00pm on Friday 21 January and 9.00pm on Saturday 22 January due to maintenance. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

The Health Secretary has set out the next steps in the fight against Coronavirus. See the press conference at Youtube: Coronavirus press conference (19 January 2022).

Get a coronavirus test

There are different tests you can get to check if you have coronavirus (Covid-19).

If you need a test, there are two types available.

  • PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests are used if you have symptoms (a new and persistent cough, a high temperature or a loss of taste or smell).
  • Rapid LFD (Lateral Flow Device) tests are used if you do not have symptoms (asymptomatic).

Get a test

Testing and tracing

Find out about the NHS Test and Trace service, including what happens if you test positive for coronavirus (Covid-19) or have had close contact with someone who has tested positive.

Self-isolation and treating symptoms

If you don't have symptoms

From 11 January in England, if you receive positive lateral flow device (LFD) test results for coronavirus (Covid-19) you will be required to self-isolate immediately and won't be required to take a confirmatory PCR test. This is a temporary measure while Covid-19 rates remain high across the UK. Whilst levels of Covid-19 are high, the vast majority of people with positive LFD results can be confident that they have Covid-19.

There are a few exceptions to this revised approach:

  • If you are eligible for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment (TTSP), you will still be asked to take a confirmatory PCR if you receive a positive LFD result, to enable you to access financial support.
  • If you are taking part in research or surveillance programmes, you may still be asked to take a follow-up PCR test, according to the research or surveillance protocol.
  • If you have a health condition that means you may be suitable for new Covid-19 treatments.
  • If you are an international arrival and have a positive day 2 rapid lateral flow test.

If you do have symptoms

If you develop one of the three main Covid-19 symptoms, you should stay at home and self-isolate and take a PCR test. You must self-isolate if you get a positive test result, even if you have had a recent negative lateral flow test - these rules have not changed.

If you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace

If you receive notice to self-isolate as a close contact of a positive case from NHS Test and Trace or from Public Health and are double vaccinated (and have been for at least two weeks prior to contact) or under 18 years of age, you will no longer be legally required to self-isolate. You will be advised to take a precautionary PCR test and will be advised to take daily lateral flow tests for seven days. 

If you are not fully vaccinated, you still need to self-isolate if you are notified as a close contact of a positive case, to protect yourself and others. You can get advice on self-isolating at NHS: Self-isolation and treating coronavirus symptoms.

Fully vaccinated staff who work in health and social care must carry out additional measures to attend their workplace.

If you don't have friends or family to support you during your self-isolation period, see our Get help if you're self-isolating page to get support.

Download the NHS Covid-19 app

The NHS Covid-19 app, available to download for free, is the fastest way to see if you're at risk from coronavirus. The faster you know, the quicker you can alert and protect your loved ones and community. See NHS: Download the NHS COVID-19 app today.

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.

Contact us
County Durham Together Community Hub
03000 260 260