Aged 18-29? Get a symptom-free PCR test

Covid cases are escalating quickly in Brighton & Hove and we need young people to test now to stop the spread.

We’ve set up mobile testing units around the city centre and we’re asking everyone aged 18-29 to come forward and get an asymptomatic PCR test.

One in three people can have Covid and be spreading it without realising. Symptom-free PCR testing will accurately find these cases so that anyone with the virus can self-isolate.

While you’re out and about, take the opportunity to drop in and test.

Where can you get tested?

Please note that opening times may vary.

Our Director of Public Health, Alistair Hill, explains why we’ve introduced the extra testing opportunities. He said:

“I’m really concerned how quickly cases are escalating. We now have one of the highest rates in the south east.

“With nearly all lockdown restrictions being lifted in the next two weeks we need to act now before the situation gets worse.

“Cases are rising fastest among younger people who have not yet had the chance to have both vaccinations.

“To help stop the spread we have made the decision to ask all those aged 18 to 29 to take proactive action and get a PCR test over the next few weeks.

“We’ve set up testing sites in the city centre to make it easier for those who are working or socialising in the city’s bars and restaurants to test.

“One in three people with Covid don’t have any symptoms so won’t think they need to test. While you might feel fine, you could still be spreading the virus onto everyone you’ve come into contact with. Getting tested will help to break the chain of transmission and keep people safe.

“We know the vaccines are working really well against the virus, but many young people are not fully vaccinated yet. There are still vulnerable people who could become very unwell if they get Covid.”

Speaking about the need for young people to take the PCR test, Leader of the Council, Phélim Mac Cafferty said he recognised that people are fed up with Covid and want to get back to normal but this is a critical time for the city. He said:

“Please, play your part in making sure local shops, bars and cafes can stay open and keep your city safe. Head to a testing site and get a test!

“Spreading Covid without realising not only risks the health of your friends and family, but also puts your favourite bars and restaurants at risk of closing.

“Over the last few weeks a number of venues in the city have had to shut due to Covid-19. Most because of the numbers of staff needing to self-isolate after being in contact with people who didn’t realise they had the virus.

“Making PCR tests available in the city centre means you can get a test while you are out in the city or meeting others.

“With the big football final this weekend we know many of you will be out enjoying drinks with friends. But with so many people getting together in one place there's a massive risk of spreading the virus.

“Please don’t put others at risk. Visit one of the testing sites when you’re out. And think about safer ways to enjoy the match - keep your group small or watch the game at home."

Why you need to test

  • 1 in 3 people can have Covid and be spreading it without realising
  • Symptom-free PCR tests can tell you accurately if you have the virus so you can self-isolate if you need to stop the spread
  • Cases are rising fastest in people aged 15-29
  • Many bars, cafes, restaurants and pubs in the city have had to close in the last few weeks and more are at risk of needing to
  • If you do get Covid it can still make you very unwell. Also we know that some people are also experiencing long-term effects from Covid (Long Covid).

Who should test?

Everyone aged 18-29. Particularly people who are regularly out and about meeting friends or going to work in busy shops, bars and restaurants.

You should not take a symptom-free PCR test if you have tested positive for Covid-19 since 8 April.

This is because it’s possible for PCR tests to remain positive for some time after COVID-19 infection as the test can pick up inactive viral fragments (which are not infectious). Waiting at least 90 days of a positive result will avoid unnecessary isolation. 

What does the test involve?

At the test site you’ll be supervised while you take a swab of your nose and throat which will be sent away to the lab. You will be sent your results by text or email within a couple of days.

Can’t I just use a home lateral flow (rapid) test?

LFD stands for Lateral Flow Device. These rapid tests are only used for people without symptoms. They give a quick result using a device similar to a pregnancy test.

PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction. These tests are processed in a lab.

You should continue to take LFD (rapid) tests twice a week at home. These can be ordered online or picked up from most pharmacies.

This is an extra opportunity to drop in and get a symptom-free PCR test while you’re out and about.

PCR tests are not usually used for people without symptoms but special measures are being put in place to accurately detect positive cases. The tests are good at picking up infection and will help to keep people safe as the vaccination programme continues to roll out.

What if I have symptoms?

If you have any symptoms of Covid-19, you must self-isolate immediately and book a test.

The main symptoms are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result. Please only leave your home to have a test.

You can order a home test to be sent to you or for the fastest result, book an appointment at a symptomatic PCR test centre. You will be shown the times and locations available when you book.

Please do not attend the Peace Statue or Jubilee Square mobile testing units if you have symptoms – these are only for people without symptoms.

What happens if I test positive?

Don’t worry, if you do have a positive Covid test result – there’s financial help available if you will lose your pay by having to self-isolate. As well as practical or wellbeing support from our community hub.

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