Testing and tracing

Updated 21.09.20

Symptoms

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

Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms. Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if you’re worried about your symptoms.

Get a test

Home test kit

You can request a home kit to be posted out to you online or by calling 119.

When you have done your test at home and are ready to post your kit back, you need to use a Royal Mail priority postbox. You can find your nearest priority postbox on the Royal Mail website.

Where to get tested

You can attend one of the borough’s walk-in or mobile testing facilities or the permanent testing site outside the Royal Blackburn Hospital.

Given problems with the national system, which is impacting on testing capacity and booking appointments, we are strongly advising residents - both with symptoms and without but needing a test - to try and book a test online.

If you are unable to do so, or are offered a location or time which is not convenient, please wait a few hours and then try again.

There may be a small number of walk-in appointments available at the testing sites at Blackburn College and in Darwen for people with symptoms however, to avoid a potentially wasted journey, we again advise you try to try and book first if at all possible.

You can register and book online or by calling 119. The registration process takes approximately 5 minutes to complete. This provides you with an appointment.

We know the problems with testing are causing concern and confusion and are urgently seeking further clarity on the various issues and will update on the national position as soon as we can.

Walk-in sites

Walk-in testing units have been set up in the following locations.

  • Blackburn College car park. This site operates between 8am–8pm seven days a week.
  • Railway Road car park, Darwen. This site operates between 8am–8pm seven days a week.

Parking is not available on site. Free parking is available nearby on Knott Street, Atlas Road or Darwen Market Roof Top.

We ask that you follow public health guidelines around social distancing and face coverings when you visit the walk-in sites.

Cases remain lower in Darwen and the town’s site is not a precursor to any imminent return to a localised lockdown. Instead, it is part of our efforts to keep the virus at bay by case finding across the borough.

Mobile testing sites

Mobile testing units are currently in the following locations:

  • Corporation Park Preston New Road, Blackburn. The testing site is situated close to the gatehouse on Preston New Road. It operates between 11am – 6pm seven days a week. The entrance for vehicles is on West Park Road and the exit leads out onto Preston New Road. Pedestrians can access the testing site from Preston New Road.
  • Penny Street car park in Blackburn. This site operates between 11am-6pm seven days a week.

Please note these sites are subject to being moved at short notice to other parts of the county and that testing at Penny Street will not be available on the following dates:

  • Thursday and Friday September 24 and 25
Test results

The NHS Test and Trace team will contact you if you have tested positive for Coronavirus to give you advice about what to do next and obtain details of anyone you have been in contact with.

If you test positive for coronavirus, you have a legal duty to stay at home for at least 10 days and until you feel better. People in your household have a legal duty to stay at home for 14 days.
From 28 September in England, there will be a new legal duty on all those who test positive for COVID-19 or are identified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact, to self-isolate. Failure to comply with this new duty will be an offence carrying a fine of at least £1,000 and up to £10,000 for multiple breaches.

The new duty means that anyone notified of a positive test result and any of their notified contacts will have a legal duty to self-isolate.

Follow the national stay at home regulations for households with possible or confirmed Covid-19 infection.

The NHS Test and Trace team will ask you where you have been recently and who you've been in close contact with. This will help them contact anyone who may have caught the virus from you.

Please note this service operates over 7 days between 8am - 8pm so may you be contacted anytime during these times.

If you need practical advice and support as a result of household isolation, please contact the BwD Help Hub

Local 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 585995. 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.

The Council 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)

Blackburn with Darwen Council Test and Trace service will not:

  • ask for bank details or payments
  • ask for details of any other accounts, such as social media
  • ask you to set up a password or PIN number over the phone
  • ask you to call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087

All information you provide to Blackburn with Darwen Council Test and Trace service 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 by the NHS. This is because it can take up to 14 days for coronavirus symptoms to appear.

Self isolating

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 however mild, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days from when your symptoms started. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

If you are not experiencing symptoms but have tested positive for COVID-19 you also must self-isolate for at least 10 days, starting from the day the test was taken. If you develop symptoms during this isolation period, you must restart your 10-day isolation from the day you develop symptoms.

Duty to self isolate

From 28 September in England, there will be a new legal duty on all those who test positive for COVID-19 or are identified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact, to self-isolate. Failure to comply with this new duty will be an offence carrying a fine of at least £1,000 and up to £10,000 for multiple breaches.

The new duty means that anyone notified of a positive test result and any of their notified contacts will have a legal duty to self-isolate.

Those testing positive for COVID-19 will be legally obliged to self-isolate for a period ending 10 days after the onset of symptoms or, for people who did not have symptoms when they were tested, 10 days after the date of the test. If you develop symptoms during this isolation period, you must restart your 10-day isolation from the day you develop symptoms. Other members of the household will be legally obliged to self-isolate for a period ending 14 days after the onset of the infected person’s symptoms (or, if they were asymptomatic, after the date of the test).

Non-household contacts will be obliged to self-isolate for the period notified to them by NHS Test and Trace (the period ending 14 days after their most recent exposure to the person who has tested positive).

Please read the Government guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus infection.

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.

Reduce the spread of infection in your home by washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser, and cover coughs and sneezes.

Financial support for those self-isolating

Blackburn with Darwen is part of a Government funded pilot to provide financial support to people who are self-isolating. This pilot is expected to last for up to three months.

To be eligible for the funding, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  1. have tested positive for Covid-19 or received a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking them to self-isolate
  2. have agreed to comply with the notification from NHS Test and Trace and provided contact details to the local authority.
  3. be employed or self-employed. Employed people will be asked to show proof of employment. Self-employed will be required to show evidence of trading income and that their business delivers services which the local authority reasonably judges they are unable to carry out without social contact
  4. be unable to work from home (checks will be undertaken on all applicants) and will lose income a result
  5. be currently receiving Universal Credit, Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Employment Support Allowance, Pension credit, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit.

For those that qualify, a payment of £13 per day for the period of isolation, per person, will be made available to eligible individuals. This funding amount is set and funded by the Government. Payments will be provided within 48 hours of the eligible individual providing the necessary evidence. Individuals will be asked to provide a notification from NHS Test and Trace and a bank statement.

If you are unable to provide information we may check the NHS Test and Trace system to confirm that you have been asked to self-isolate. We will also put in place checks to prevent fraud and ensure compliance through welfare check-ins, phone calls and employment checks.

You can read the Government’s press release on this scheme.

You can read Blackburn with Darwen Council’s press release on this scheme.

Apply for financial support

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.