The UK Government has announced (as of last week of April) that if you’re an essential worker who is self-isolating (not able to leave home) with suspected COVID-19, you can now apply for you and members of your household to get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) if you believe you have symptoms – https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk.
The definitions of who is regarded as an essential worker have recently been substantially expanded by the Scottish Government – so many more people may now be able to make use of this way of getting a test. More details on how this will operate in Scotland – https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-for-key-workers-in-Scotland
The process for self-referral consists of going to the web address given below, going through the questions yourself, and if you satisfy the criteria, an appointment for you at one of the new test centres will be issued.
To deliver this service a new key worker-only testing centre has been established at the Inverness campus – supplementing the two testing centres already in place in & around Raigmore Hospital.
And this week (Mon 4th May) Scottish Fire and Rescue Service announced that they are supporting the delivery of COVID-19 testing (especially for self-referrals) to some of the outlying communities in the Highlands – these will cater for people who have received pre-arranged appointments and have been directed to mobile units at Ullapool fire station or, depending on your location, similar setups in Broadford, Fort William and Thurso.
Access will now be determined via a prioritisation matrix for key workers that includes a broader range of private sector workers and essential services than before (though priority will still be given to health and care workers). Full details of who is now considered a key/essential worker in Scotland can be found here.
Who can get these tests?
Main group affected by extension are “Essential workers in critical national infrastructure fundamental for safety and security, and life-line services. This includes environmental protection, animal health and welfare and staff working for third sector organisations supporting people and children who are vulnerable, including food supply chain and food processing workers, energy and water supply.
Also: staff directly involved in delivering other essential services. This includes staff providing child care for key workers, public transport workers, postal services, financial services, supermarket workers, construction workers.
When to get tested
You should get tested in the first 3 days of coronavirus symptoms appearing, although testing is considered effective up until day 5.
No testing should be undertaken after day 5, unless it’s for a specific reason which will be agreed on a case by case basis by local microbiologists.
If your test result turns out to be negative, you can safely return to work, as long as:
you are well enough
you have not had a high temperature for 48 hours
anyone you live with also tests negative.
(Photograph of Ullapool Fire Station is taken from Google Street View image)
6th May 2020