To obtain a lateral flow device (LFD) test in Gloucestershire, there are multiple ways available:
- You can visit a community testing site (details available on the Gloucestershire County Council website) and have your test done there (booking required).
- You can collect test kits from the community testing site (no booking is needed).
- You can collect test kits from one of the PCR testing sites (appointment not needed but do check opening times so as not to visit when people with COVID symptoms are tested).
- You can take the test at your local pharmacy. You do not need an appointment but ring in advance to check availability.
- You can pick up test kits from a pharmacy. Use NHS Map to find the nearest to you.
- You can order them from the Gov.uk website here.
Those visitors who are travelling from outside of Gloucestershire will have similar choices available to them in their locality.
We will still conduct tests where the visitors do not have a mobile phone or an e-mail address to receive the result of their test.
What is a lateral flow device (LFD) test?
LFTs are a rapid way of testing for Covid-19. A swab is taken from the back of the nose or throat, mixed with an extraction fluid, and a drop of this mixture is placed in a well on a small device. The fluid is then drawn into the device and along a strip of test paper. Should coronavirus proteins be detected, a red line will appear, in addition to a second line that indicates the test is working. It works a little like a pregnancy test, but instead of looking for certain hormones, the test contains antibodies that bind to coronavirus proteins.
These tests differ from polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which look for genetic material from the virus, called RNA (ribonucleic acid) and are more accurate. However, LFTs have the advantages of being cheap and offering results in about 30 minutes, and they can be carried out at home.
The test works in a similar way to a home pregnancy test kit. It involves swabbing both tonsils (or where they would have been) at the back of the throat as well as into one nostril.