17th June 2021

Director of Public Health urges those with Covid-19 symptoms to book PCR test

Somerset residents are being reminded that they need to book a PCR test if they are showing symptoms of Covid-19, or have tested positive using a ‘lateral flow’ (rapid) test kit.

While the ‘lateral flow’ tests are a useful screening tool, the PCR test is considered the ‘Gold Standard’ and should be taken by anyone who is displaying symptoms of Covid-19, including a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell.

Also, if anyone takes a ‘lateral flow’ test at home and gets a positive result, they should book a further PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test at a local Covid testing site to confirm the result.

Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health for Somerset County Council, said: “It is really important to understand the difference between the ‘lateral flow’ tests and the PCR test.

“The ‘lateral flow’ tests are only to be used by those displaying no symptoms. While they are a valuable guide, they should not be relied upon alone. Taking a PCR test will provide confirmation of the result.

“So, if you are displaying symptoms or have tested positive using a ‘lateral flow’ test, please book a PCR test. As society starts to open up again, everyone needs to play their part to keep the virus under control and this involves testing.”

You can book or request a PCR test online or by calling 119.

The ‘lateral flow’ tests for those displaying no symptoms are available via the Universal Testing Offer. Please also remember to log any positive or negative result following a ‘lateral flow’ test taken at home.

Trudi added: “The main form of defence against catching and spreading Covid-19 is still ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ – remember to wash your hands regularly, try not to touch your face unless you have clean hands, wear a face covering if you can and keep your distance from others. And, even if vaccinated, it’s still important you take part in twice-weekly LFT testing and ensure you take a PCR test if you are symptomatic.”