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Testing without symptoms

Coronavirus Stay at Home

If you do not have COVID-19 symptoms

One in three people with COVID-19 do not have any symptoms and could be spreading the virus without realising.

Rapid twice-weekly Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests are available on-site at the Council’s testing centres and pop-up units for everyone in the borough. Currently, due to the significant increase in demand nationally, stocks of home test kits are currently limited.

No symptoms (asymptomatic) testing centres

The Council's testing centres are at:

The testing centres are open for all to be tested on site. Please note, stock of home test kits are currently limited because of high demand.

You do not need an appointment to get tested. You can arrive at a time that suits you - although if the test centre is busy you may have to queue.

The test centres do not offer assisted swabbing, although staff can assist with the recording of results. Anyone who cannot carry out a physical test themselves is advised to bring an advocate with them to help.

Disabled parking is available at Stanney Oaks and the Dingle Centre. Both test centres also have step-free access and disabled toilets. Assistance dogs are welcome.

If you would like to request testing information in another format visit:

If you would like to speak to someone about your access requirements in advance of your visit email:

Watch: British Sign Language instructions on how to take a test at one of the Council’s no-symptoms testing centres

Opening times for all asymptomatic testing centres

  • Monday: 9am until 3pm
  • Tuesday: 9am until 3pm
  • Wednesday: 9am until 3pm
  • Thursday: 9am until 3pm
  • Friday: 9am until 3pm
  • Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays: closed

Pop-up testing units

Residents can get tested and collect home test kits at the Council's pop-up testing units.

Stocks of home test kits are currently limited because of high demand. 

These are walk-in sites and no appointment is necessary.

As of 24 January 2022, the pop-up testing units will be located at:

  • Barons Quay, Northwich (outside H&M), from 9am until 3pm, Monday to Friday.
  • Bishop Street Car Park, Hoole, CH2 3BB, from 9am to 3.30pm Monday to Friday.

The pop-up testing units do not offer assisted swabbing, although staff can assist with the recording of results. Anyone who cannot carry out a physical test themselves is advised to bring an advocate with them to help.

Home test kits

Due to significant demand nationally, supplies of home test kits are currently limited.

  • 'Pharmacy Collect' - available for people aged over 18 without symptoms to visit a participating local pharmacy and collect tests to use twice a week at home. If you give the pharmacy a 'collect code' when you pick up the tests, it helps the NHS match your details to the tests. Get a collect code.
  • A home ordering service which allows people to order Lateral Flow Device tests (LFDs) online to be delivered to their home. This service may be temporarily unavailable for a short time due to high demand, if so please try again later.
  • Pick up home test kits at a no symptoms (asymptomatic) testing centre in the borough - including the Dingle Centre in Winsford and Stanney Oaks Leisure Centre in Ellesmere Port
  • Pick up home test kits at one of the following libraries: Northwich, Neston, Frodsham, Ellesmere Port, Helsby, Malpas, Tarvin and Tattenhall and the mobile library van in various locations.

The test

At a testing centre

You carry out the Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test yourself using a swab. Depending on which test is being used, the swab is rubbed at the back of your throat and in one nostril or both nostrils only.

The test is not painful, although it may be slightly uncomfortable.

The swab is analysed at the test centre, and your results will be sent to you by text message or email approximately half an hour after you have done your swab.

If you do not have a mobile phone or email address, you can telephone 119 to receive your results instead.

You should aim to get tested twice a week. When you come to the test centre, please wear a face covering.

Home tests

You might receive one of three types of home test (called a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test). In one (which is in a blue and white pack with NHS printed on it) you rub a swab at the back of your throat and in one nostril.

In the other two types (called ACON Flowflex and Orient Gene) you do not rub the swab at the back of your throat but in both nostrils instead. The tests are not painful, although they may feel slightly uncomfortable.

If your Lateral Flow Test (LFT) done at the test centre or at home is positive

  • You must self-isolate immediately for 10 days, starting on the day after your positive LFD. Your self-isolation can end early if you test negative using an LFD on the fifth day and negative again 24 hours later, and if you do not have a high temperature. You should not take the LFD test before Day Five.
  • Anyone you live with should also take a daily LFD test for seven days and self-isolate if this result is positive. If their result is negative they do not need to self-isolate provided they have had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days earlier or they are under the age of 18. Anyone over the age of 18 who is not fully vaccinated must self-isolate for 10 days.

If your result is invalid/void, it means it cannot be read and it is not possible to say if you had Coronavirus when the test was done. You should take another test as soon as possible at one of our Council asymptomatic testing sites.

If the LFT result is invalid a second time, you should book a further test, known as a PCR test, though the national portal.

Book a PCR test if you have received an unclear result

While awaiting a follow-up test you only need to self-isolate if

  • you have or develop symptoms
  • someone you live with tests positive (or has symptoms and has not been tested yet)
  • you have been traced as a contact or someone who tested positive

If your result is negative, you do not need to self-isolate and you can carry on your daily activities as normal. Like everybody else, you still need to practice the preventive measures:

  • Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using hand sanitiser, regularly throughout the day
  • Use a face covering when out and about
  • Keep at least two metres apart from others.

The LFT test kits supplied for home testing of people without symptoms are not suitable for people with COVID-19 symptoms. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you must make an appointment to visit a Local Test Site or Mobile Testing Unit, or order a PCR home test kit which is specifically for people with symptoms.

Close contacts

From 14 December daily testing will be introduced for close contacts of any positive case of COVID-19 who have had two doses of the vaccine or who are under 18.

This replaces all previous guidance on isolation rules for contacts, regardless of whether they are linked to a suspected or confirmed Omicron case.

If vaccinated contacts participate in daily testing it will help to reduce the spread of Omicron with less impact on people’s day-to-day lives, although contacts are advised to limit avoidable social contact as much as possible, particularly around vulnerable people.

Contacts should take a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test for seven consecutive days, or up to the end of what would have been the 10-day isolation period – whichever is sooner.

Contacts should self-isolate immediately if they test positive on LFD – the need for a confirmatory PCR test has been temporarily suspended.

There is no change to the rules for close contacts who are not fully vaccinated or exempt – they should isolate for 10 days from contact with the positive case

Book a PCR test

Testing for children

Testing for children with symptoms

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of taste or smell) should self-isolate at home immediately and book a PCR test.

Testing with symptoms

Testing for children without symptoms

Pupils in secondary schools and colleges  should home test twice weekly. Testing kits and instructions will be provided to pupils and students by the school or college.

Children and young people under the age of 18 can also attend the Council's testing centres for regular and rapid COVID-19 testing if they do not have symptoms. These centres are at Stanney Oaks Leisure Centre, in Ellesmere Port, and the Dingle Centre in Winsford.

  • Children aged 11 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who can carry out the test on the child and is comfortable doing so.
  • Children aged between 12 and 15 may carry out the test themselves under supervision of their parent or guardian.
  • Young people aged between 16 and 17 can carry out the test themselves and do not need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Find out more about testing centres for people without symptoms.

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