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Collect rapid Covid-19 tests for use at home | Sandwell Council

Updates from the council on Covid-19

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Collect rapid Covid-19 tests for use at home

IMPORTANT: The rapid home tests described on this page are NOT for people with the three main Covid-19 symptoms (high temperature, a new continuous cough or a change or loss of sense of taste or smell). If you have these symptoms you must self-isolate and book an NHS (PCR) test.

Everyone is encouraged to use a rapid Covid-19 test at home twice a week.

You can collect these tests free of charge from a number of pharmacies and use them at home.

Rapid home testing is for people with no Covid-19 symptoms. These tests will help us to find more Covid-19 cases and break the chains of transmission. Around one in three people with Covid-19 show no symptoms and could be spreading the virus without knowing.

Adults should use these rapid home tests twice a week (every three to four days). You can collect up to two boxes of rapid home tests per family (or four for a large family). Regular testing will mean more positive cases within households are found, helping to keep educational settings and our communities safe.

Rapid tests are done at home by self-swabbing and using the testing kit. The test detects cases of Covid-19 in under 30 minutes – meaning positive cases and their whole household can isolate immediately. This can be the difference between children being able to stay in school, or a class being sent home due to an outbreak. 

How can I get a rapid Covid-19 test to use at home?

You can collect rapid tests to use at home from a number of pharmacies.

Where to pick up your rapid home tests in Sandwell

If you cannot get a rapid test at your workplace and you are unable to go to a pharmacy to collect rapid home test kits, you can order rapid home test kits online. Please only order for delivery if you are not able to collect your tests. This will help free up home delivery for those who need it most.

How rapid tests work

You do the test at home. The test involves taking a sample from your tonsils (or where your tonsils would have been if you have had them removed) and a sample from your nose, using a swab. You then put the swab in a solution and leave it to develop. The test will tell you if your result is negative or positive. You do not need to take your test anywhere to be processed. You will get a result within 30 minutes.

If you test positive using a rapid home test

If anyone tests positive for Covid-19 using one of these home rapid tests you must:

The same advice applies if any of your household has Covid-19 symptoms - you must all self-isolate and the person with symptoms must book a test.

If you test negative using a rapid home test

A negative result means the test did not find signs of Covid-19. But this does not guarantee you do not have coronavirus, so you should keep following all coronavirus advice including:

  • regular handwashing
  • social distancing
  • wearing a face covering where recommended.