Test, trace, self-isolate

Updated 17.09.21

Symptoms of Covid-19

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

There are other symptoms that have been reported by people who have tested positive, such as: a persistent headache, diarrhoea, fever and chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, sore throat, congestion or runny nose and nausea or vomiting.

Read more about the extended list of symptoms on the CDC's website. The World Health Organisation website also contains information on known symptoms.

How to get a test

Rapid testing for people without symptoms

Everyone in Blackburn with Darwen without symptoms of coronavirus can access free, regular, rapid coronavirus testing

Rapid tests using lateral flow devices are available from the borough’s testing hubs:

  • Community Help Hub (in the Mall, Blackburn) Open: 9am-5pm (Mon-Fri)
  • Work at Over Darwen House Open: 8am-4pm (Mon-Fri)

You do not need to book and your test results will usually be available in 30 mins.

You can also collect Rapid Test kits at:

  • Community Help Hub (in the Mall, Blackburn). Open: 9am-5pm (Mon-Fri)
  • Work at Over Darwen House, BB3 2RG. Open: 9am-4pm (Mon-Fri)
  • Ewood Park Darwen End car park. Open: 10am-2pm (Mon & Thurs)

Monday (10:30am-12pm):

  • Little Harwood Community Centre
  • Accrington Road Community Centre

Tuesday (10:30am-12pm):

  • Ivy Street Community Centre
  • Darwen Valley Community Centre
  • Mill Hill Community Centre

Monday - Friday (9am-2.30pm)

  • Greenfields Community Centre

Or via:

Please note that lateral flow testing is not required within 90 days of a positive result. Individuals and workplaces who choose to continue lateral flow testing within 90 days of a positive test can still access support from the Council’s Public Health and Outbreak Management teams (BWDCOVID19@blackburn.gov.uk)

Further information about rapid testing.

Testing for people with symptoms with symptoms and those who have been identified as a Close Contact

If you are worried or have any doubts about any possible covid-19 symptoms, or you have been contacted by Test and Trace to identify you as a close contact, you can get a PCR test at:

  • Permanent testing site at Old Bank Lane, outside the Royal Blackburn Hospital
  • Penny Street car park, Blackburn
  • Railway Road car park, Darwen

Register and book a test online or call 119.

If you’d prefer to walk-in, you can do so at:

  • Railway Road car park, Darwen (08:00-20:00)
  • Penny Street car park, Blackburn (08:00-20:00)

Please note, the walk-in site formerly at Blackburn College car park has now closed.

Free parking is available at Penny Street Car Park, Blackburn and in Darwen on Knott Street, Atlas Road or Darwen Market Roof Top.

Two mobile testing units for walk-in tests are also available:

  • Ewood Park Darwen End Coach Car Park: 10:45-15:45 4th and 5th, 12th, 18th and 19th and 26th September
  • Pleasington Playing Fields: Mon to Fri, 10:00-15:00 1st to 3rd, 6th to 10th, 13th to 17th, 20th to 24th and 27th to 30th September

Home PCR testing kits are available by calling 119 or online. When you have done your test at home and are ready to post your kit back, you need to use a Royal Mail priority post box. Locations are available on the Royal Mail website.

Schools testing

Schools testing programme

For information on the schools testing programme for pupils, staff and support bubble members please see the schools testing section.

SMART testing in the workplace

Information on smart testing in the workplace is available here.

Test results and contact tracing

You’ll usually get a text or email with your result when it’s ready. If you use the NHS Covid-19 app, you may also get your results in the app.

If you test positive you have a legal duty to self-isolate. If you do not self-isolate you may be fined at least £1,000 and upto £10,000 for multiple breaches.

The NHS Test and Trace team will contact you if you have tested positive for Covid-19 and obtain details of anyone you have been in contact with.

You have a legal duty to stay at home for a period ending 10 days after the onset of symptoms, or if you have had no symptoms, for 10 days after the date of your positive test. People in your household must stay at home for 14 days.

Please read the section below on ‘Self-isolating’ and ‘Finance Support available’

You can read more about test results on the NHS website.

Blackburn with Darwen test and trace

If the NHS Test and Trace team have been unable to contact you within 48 hours, your case will be passed to the local Blackburn with Darwen Council Test and Trace team who will contact you.
The Council will contact you by text or phone.

Text messages/Calls will come from 01254 585094. It is important that you reply to these messages and calls.

Children under 18 will be contacted by phone wherever possible and asked for their parent or guardian's permission to continue the call.

If we fail to contact you via text or phone a Blackburn with Darwen public protection officer and/ or another member of our partner services will be sent to your residence in person to contact you.

Personal information

The Council or NHS will ask you:

  • Your name, date of birth and postcode
  • If you live with other people
  • Any places you've been recently, such as a workplace or school
  • Names and contact details of any people you were in close contact with in the 48 hours before your symptoms started (if you know these details)

You will not be asked for

  • Bank details or payments
  • Details of any other accounts, such as social media
  • Passwords or PIN numbers
  • You won’t be asked to call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087

All information you provide to the NHS or the Council is confidential. No one who is contacted as a result of your positive test will be told your identity.

Anyone you’ve been in close contact with will be told to stay at home (self-isolate) for 14 days. This is because it can take upto 14 days for Covid-19 symptoms to appear.

Self isolating from 16th August

There have been changes to self-isolating guidance as of 16th August.

From 16th August, providing they have been fully vaccinated (14 days after the final dose) and are not displaying any COVID-19 symptoms, anyone who has been identified as a close contact of a positive case will no longer have to self-isolate.

The following groups will be required to self-isolate, should they be identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 PCR test result:

  • Those who have not received their COVID-19 vaccination
  • Those who have not received both doses of their COVID-19 vaccination
  • Those who have received their second dose within the last 14 days
  • Those who have tested positive following a PCR test
  • Those who have been fully vaccinated and are displaying COVID-19 symptoms (ahead of getting a PCR test).

Anyone who has been fully vaccinated and contacted by NHS Test and Trace will be advised to take a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test as soon as possible. While awaiting the results of the PCR test, self-isolating is not needed.

Anyone under the age of 18 who is a close contact of a positive case will also no longer have to self-isolate. In most cases individuals will be advised to take a PCR test, dependent on their age, and will need to self-isolate only if they test positive. Those turning 18 will be treated in the same way as children until the age of 18 years and 6 months, to allow them time to get vaccinated.

If your PCR test result is positive, you must self-isolate for 10 days to avoid spreading the infection to other people. This will continue to be a legal requirement. Those you live with – and any close contacts outside your household – will either be required to self-isolate or advised to get a PCR test, depending on their age and vaccination status. If you test positive and get defined as a contact again within 90 days, you should not take a PCR test. NHS Test and Trace will further advise when contact is made with the individual identified as a close-contact.

Finanical Support for parents or guardians of children self-isolating can be offered dependant on circumstance.

The Test and Trace Support Payment is available for people on low incomes who must self-isolate due to COVID-19.

The testing policy has not changed. Those who are fully vaccinated will only be required to self-isolate if they test positive for COVID-19 following a PCR test. PCR testing as an important tool in protecting the progress made against the pandemic and keeping restrictions at a low level.

Even with a negative result, it is recommended to take the following extra precautions to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, especially if you are clinically vulnerable:

  • Meet outside, or open windows and doors for indoor visitors
  • If you think you have symptoms stay at home and take a PCR test
  • Wear face coverings in crowded places and on public transport
  • Check in to venues when you go out
  • Wash your hands with soap regularly, and for at least 20 seconds

You may have to self-isolate when you arrive in England, if you are travelling from a country that is not on the travel corridor exempt list. Please check the Government website for further details, including how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK.

The NHS COVID-19 app

The NHS COVID-19 app is changing to reflect the new rules introduced on 16th August.

  • The app will ask you to confirm your age and vaccination status in order to update the advice provided by the app.
  • If you are a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19 you will be advised to either take PCR tests or self-isolate in accordance with your situation.
  • If you are advised to self-isolate, the self-isolation countdown timer can help you keep track of your isolation days.

Two doses of the vaccine may greatly reduce your risk of becoming unwell with COVID-19, however, it is still possible to contract the virus and pass it to others. You will be able to use the app to understand what is happening and help control the spread of the virus.

Please refer to the NHS website for further information about the COVID-19 app.

Financial support for those self-isolating

Information on the financial support that may be available to you.

Covid-19 Rehab programme

The NHS have launched a Covid-19 Recovery service for those who may still be coming to terms with the impact the virus has had on both the body and mind. Find out more.

Antibody testing

Antibody testing is a key part of the Government’s testing programme and will play an increasingly important role as we move into the next phase of responding to this epidemic.

Free antibody testing is not widely available yet. It’s currently offered to NHS and care staff, as well as some hospital patients and care home residents.

Patients who are already having blood taken as part of other tests (either in hospital or in their GP practice) will be asked whether they would like an antibody test. You can read further information on the NHS website.

If you’ve had coronavirus, you can donate blood plasma to help researchers find treatments. Read more about how to get involved.