Lateral Flow Device testing

Redbridge Council is now offering tests to residents who don't have any COVID-19 symptoms and are unable to work from home. These tests help to identify positive cases in this group which would otherwise go unnoticed.

Residents who need to leave home for work should get tested two times a week at the nearest test centre. The Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing sites will enable you to do this.

The current site open daily at10.15-4.45pm:

  • Redbridge Central Library, Ilford, IG1 1BP, available Monday - Saturday

These tests are one of the new tools being used to help to detect and fight COVID-19. Research shows that one in three people who have coronavirus never show any symptoms, but that does not mean they are not infectious. These tests can help identify people with high levels of virus who do not have symptoms.

Staff at the site will talk carefully through what the test means and what the limitations are. The tests are quick and convenient, delivering results in under 30 minutes. 

If a person tests positive, they will need to self-isolate alongside the rest of their household.

If a person tests negative, they should continue to follow the national COVID-19 guidelines and maintain infection control measures such as washing their hands, wearing a face mask and keeping a two-metre distance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is coronavirus testing and why is it important?

Testing is the most effective way to control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Redbridge is now offering two types of COVID-19 tests:

  • PCR Tests – These are for people who have symptoms of the virus (a new persistent cough, high temperature or a loss or change in sense of smell or taste)
  • Lateral Flow Tests – These are for people who are not showing any symptoms (symptom-free testing).

In addition to getting tested, the most important thing we can all do to prevent the spread of the virus is to remember the basics:

  • Wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds
  • Wear your face covering in enclosed spaces
  • Keep your distance - try to stay at least 2 metres away from anyone you do not live with (or anyone not in your support bubble)

Where can I access lateral flow testing in Redbridge?

Lateral flow testing is initially being offered at three sites in Redbridge:

  • Redbridge Central Library, Ilford, IG1 1BP

What is lateral flow testing?

This testing is for people who feel well and do not have symptoms of COVID-19.

The aim is to find as many COVID-19 infections as possible in people that do not know they are infectious and could spread it to others. As many as one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and may be spreading it unknowingly. When we find these infections, the individual can self-isolate to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, please book a PCR test at one of our other Redbridge sites online or by ringing 119.

How is this different from other types of testing?

PCR testing is for people with symptoms. It looks for the virus’s genetic material (RNA). It uses a test that must be processed by a laboratory.

Lateral flow testing looks for parts of the surface of the virus. It is for people who do not have symptoms. It uses a test kit called a ‘lateral flow device’, which does not need a lab, and has a rapid turnaround time for results. 

What is a “Lateral Flow Device”?

A Lateral Flow Device is a type of test kit that doesn’t need a lab, and gives you fast results. For example, a pregnancy test is a type of lateral flow device. To use the coronavirus lateral flow device, you need to take a swab of your nose and throat. This swab is mixed with an extraction fluid, and the fluid is put onto the lateral flow device. This type of test gives a result within half an hour.

How are the tests processed?

Lateral flow devices do not require a laboratory to process the test. Swabbing and processing of these tests must currently be conducted at a dedicated testing site by trained personnel.

What will this test tell me? 

If you get a positive result from the lateral flow device test, it is likely that you were infectious at the time the test was taken. The test cannot detect very low levels of coronavirus in a sample, so if you have only recently been infected, are in the incubation period, or if you have mostly recovered, the test may not give a positive result.

Are lateral flow tests less accurate than PCR tests?

Lateral flow and PCR tests have different characteristics and different uses. PCR tests have higher accuracy but require a laboratory to process results and are therefore slower and more expensive. They are therefore well suited to specific use cases, such as those with Covid symptoms. While lateral flow tests have lower accuracy than PCR, they deliver results far faster and do not require a lab, making them more scalable. As such, they allow us to test far larger numbers of asymptomatic people and get them their test result faster than with PCR technology. This will enable us to capture a large percentage of people who are infected and infectious, but asymptomatic and unaware of the fact that they are possibly spreading Covid.

Can everyone get a test?

Lateral flow tests are only for people who don’t have symptoms. If you do have COVID-19 symptoms, you must stay at home (self-isolate) and book a PCR test at one of our other Redbridge sites online or by ringing 119. They are aimed at people who need to leave their home to go to work such as key workers and carers.  

During national stay at home restrictions, we will be prioritising these tests for those are unable to work at home and those living, or in a support bubble with, critical workers. As these people are out in the community, they could be most at risk of spreading the virus.

Will this test pick up all COVID-19 infections?

No. The lateral flow device test will detect most infections, but not all. Because a single negative result could be a false negative, it should not change the way you work or behave.  Even after a negative test it is important to continue to follow the measures that protect others; regular handwashing, wearing a face covering and social distancing.

Why use a test that doesn’t pick up all infections?

There is no test for COVID-19 that will detect every single infection. This test has several benefits; it gives results quickly and does not require a laboratory to process the result. This means we can use it to test lots of people in a short space of time.

If we did not use this test, people would continue to work and spread COVID-19 without realising it. By using this test, we won’t find all infections, but we can find most infections – which will help to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

How often can I get a lateral flow test?

You can access repeat lateral flow testing at the community testing site. Individuals should take the test twice a week, every three to four days, as this allows more infections to be detected.

What will I need to bring to my appointment?

You must bring a face covering to your appointment and ensure that you adhere to measures that protect others such as social distancing and hand washing.

Is the test site safe for me to attend?

Yes. The testing sites are Covid secure and we are taking steps to ensure they remain safe for residents. Those attending testing should maintain social distance at all times and are required to wear a face covering unless they are in the process of taking the test.

What will the test involve?

The swab test takes around 15 minutes to administer and results will be delivered quickly - usually on the same day.

You will do the test yourself, taking a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat, using a long cotton bud. Staff will be able to support by talking you through the process, but they won’t be able to touch you or take the swab for you.

Does the test hurt?

No. The test may be a bit uncomfortable but this will only be for a few seconds. You perform the test yourself by swabbing the back of your throat and your nose.

When will I get the results of my test?

The tests are processed on site, meaning that a test result can be returned quickly and usually on the same day.

I’ve tested positive - what does that mean?

It’s likely that you have COVID-19. You must self-isolate immediately for 10 days with your household and follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace.

For school staff and NHS staff who can conduct lateral flow tests at home, a confirmatory PCR is also needed to make sure the lateral flow test result is accurate. This can be done by ordering a home testing kit or visiting a local PCR test site. If you then get a positive PCR test, you must continue to isolate. If it’s negative, you can end your isolation.

Do I need to get a confirmatory PCR test if I test positive for lateral flow device testing (LFD)?

If you take an LFD test at a supervised setting, there is no requirement to get a confirmatory PCR test and a positive test must lead to isolation for the individual and their household.

If you take an LFD test at an unsupervised setting (i.e. at home) and get a positive test, you need to then take a confirmatory PCR test. If that result is negative, you can come out of isolation.

I’ve tested negative, what does that mean?

If you receive a negative test result you don’t need to self-isolate, unless you are symptomatic or otherwise indicated by the Stay at Home Guidance. Remember that although the lateral flow test will pick up most infections, a negative result does not completely rule out COVID-19. Even if you receive a negative test, you must still follow the national lockdown guidance, stay at home as much as possible and follow relevant guidance, e.g. Hands, Face and Space.

Can I stop social distancing?

No. Because a single negative result could be a false negative, it should not change the way you work or behave.  You must still follow the measures that protect others - regular handwashing, wearing a face covering, observing 2 metres social distancing.

Redbridge is currently in Tier 4 and you should continue to follow the guidance set by government for Tier 4 areas.

I don’t have any symptoms myself, but I live with someone who has COVID-19. Should I book a lateral flow test?

No.  If you are living with someone who has COVID-19, you should be self-isolating in line with the national guidelines. If you later develop symptoms, you should book a PCR test instead.

Can I get any kind of financial help if I test positive?

Eligible individuals who test positive through the lateral flow testing programme, and are asked to self-isolate, will be entitled to the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment in the same way as a regular PCR test.

Find out more and apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment if you test positive and you live in Redbridge.

Who can I contact if I am having problems booking a test online?

If you are unable to book an appointment online our test sites accept walk in appointments which are listed at the top of the page.


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