In the UK alone, there have been more than 20 million cases of the COVID-19 virus.
Although we have been living through COVID-19 for over two years now, there still is a lot that we don’t know. Even with the protection of the vaccinations, there is still a risk that you could get COVID-19.
But regulations change quickly and it can be difficult to keep track. You’re probably wondering ‘where can I get a COVID test near me‘? and lots of other questions.
But don’t get overwhelmed! This article is here to help guide you through the process of testing for COVID-19. It goes through what the virus is, how to find a testing site, what tests are available, and what to expect from the process. So read on to get informed!
What Is Coronavirus?
The Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), also known as COVID-19, is part of a family of viruses causing respiratory problems.
Viruses tend to change over time, called mutations or variants. As a consequence, the way that the virus behaves can change over time. This might allow the virus to pass more easily between people and also make it more infectious.
COVID-19 currently has several different variants, including the Omicron and Delta mutations. These are being closely monitored by scientists all over the world, who are trying to control local outbreaks.
COVID-19 is extremely infectious and spreads fast. This happens in a similar way to common colds, through infected respiratory droplets from sneezing or coughing. This occurs when you are close to an infected person, you touch an infected surface or you are in a poorly ventilated enclosed space.
Symptoms of Coronavirus
Getting to know the symptoms is a good way to identify if you have COVID-19. Currently, there does not appear to be a big difference in the severity of symptoms in adults and children. However, in some cases, children may have milder symptoms compared with adults.
Common coronavirus symptoms are persistent dry coughs, high temperature, and a loss of your sense of smell and/or taste. There could be many other possible symptoms, and not everyone’s experience will be the same.
If you are having symptoms of COVID-19, then try to stay at home and avoid contact with others. If you know others who are at higher risk of COVID-19, then take extra care to avoid them.
Why Do You Need to Get Tested?
Getting tested regularly for COVID-19 is important for many reasons. If you feel under the weather, or you are planning to travel soon, testing protects ourselves and others. Identifying positive cases can help to break the transmission cycle in its tracks.
If you are travelling, then you may need to provide proof of a negative test to board the plane, or into the country on the other side. The type of test that you need may vary depending on your destination. So make sure you check ahead of time the latest information for the country you are visiting.
When testing for COVID-19, make sure that you are using a UK Government approved testing provider. This means that their testing laboratories meet a certain standard, so your results are more reliable.
What Types of Tests Are Available
There are currently three main types of COVID tests available. The viral tests vary in how they are performed, the time it takes to get the results, and also how accurate they are.
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Tests
PCR tests are a highly accurate way to test for COVID-19. These types of tests are great as they can even detect the presence of viruses in your system at the earliest stages of the infection.
This test is done by swabbing a person’s nostrils and/or throat. The sample is then sent to the laboratory for processing. This can take up to 12 hours for emergency tests and 24 hours for standard tests.
Lateral Flow Antigen Test
Antigen tests are more rapid than PCR tests, taking around 5-10 minutes to complete. This test is done by swabbing the tonsils.
The time it takes to get your results will vary depending on which test you took. Usually, antigen tests take around 15-20 minutes and come in PDF format with a QR code directly to your email.
Timing is important with this test. Try to take this type of test the day of the event that you are testing for. This will give you the clearest information as to whether you currently have a high amount of the virus in your system.
Although these tests are rapid and can give almost on-the-spot results, they do not give as accurate results as the more comprehensive PCR. However, they are a good first point of call if you think you have symptoms or need to test quickly.
Antibody tests detect how many antibodies you have for COVID-19. This can indicate if you have already had coronavirus or if your body has made antibodies after vaccination.
Unlike the other two tests, antibody tests require a blood sample. In some cases, those who have had the virus or have been vaccinated will not have antibodies, so be aware that this test might not work in all cases. Test results for antibody tests can take longer to receive, often between three to seven days.
These are not accepted in many countries. If you are travelling, make sure to check your destination country’s requirements.
Please note that in all cases, if you are waiting for test results that take a bit longer, then it is advised that you try and avoid contact with others. This prevents unnecessary spreading if you return a positive result.
How to Find a COVID Test Near Me
Getting tested for free for COVID-19 has now ended for most people in England. This means that using a private testing site is going to be a better option for easier access and faster results.
One of the easiest ways to search for a testing site is to type ‘COVID tests near me’ into a search engine. This will bring up the closest results to your area.
If you are living in or visiting London, then London COVID Testing Clinics have three convenient testing centres in Victoria, Knightsbridge, and Wembley.
Reservations, although not always necessary, are recommended to avoid disappointment. When you make a registration, you will be asked to complete an online registration form with your personal details. This helps to speed up your appointment and guarantees that you’ll get seen!
If you are in need of an emergency appointment, then call the clinic and they will try to prioritise your appointment.
Many COVID testing clinics offer home testing kits. This allows you to do the tests in the comfort of your own home if you cannot make it to an on-site testing appointment. These also have the handy option of ordering a family pack, so you can test as a family before you travel!
When choosing a testing centre, try to do some research beforehand. Do they offer the popular types of COVID tests, such as a PCR test or antigen test? Check also what their opening hours are and whether they take walk-in appointments.
Read some reviews about the testing facility and see if they have good customer service. Getting your test results delivered on time is really important, especially if you need your test for time-sensitive reasons.
Coronavirus Test Results
There are three possible outcomes for your COVID-19 test. Here is what they are and what to do when you receive your results.
- Positive – Unfortunately, this means you are infected with the coronavirus. Please immediately follow COVID guidelines to prevent infecting others. If you need to seek medical advice, then you can call 111 to access the NHS advice service.
- Negative – Congratulations! You are not currently infected with the virus. This means you can continue with your life as normal, taking the necessary precautions to prevent catching COVID-19 at a later date. You are also fit to travel!
- Inconclusive – This means that your test did not give a definite answer. This may be because the sample was too small, or because there was a problem with the testing kit. If you have this result, then you may need to get retested.
These initial tests cannot show you if you have a specific variant of COVID. It also cannot show if you are suffering from long-term effects of coronavirus (also known as long COVID).
If you have any questions or concerns about your results, get in touch with your test provider and they can offer you further assistance.
Safe And Sound
Finding and taking a COVID-19 test can seem like a stressful process. This guide has given you all the information you need to find a COVID test near me!
Whether you are planning to travel or you are showing symptoms, you don’t need to panic! With friendly customer service and convenient testing sites, London COVID Testing Clinics are here to help.
Their test results get delivered on time in 99% of cases and their laboratory is open seven days a week to make sure you get quick, accurate results. Get in touch today to get peace of mind on COVID-19 testing.