Let's get tested
By Dr Niruban Ratnarajah
In any walk of life, it’s important to have the right tool for the right job.
Tackling coronavirus is no different, and one of the ways we can stop the spread of this potentially fatal illness is by having a regular testing regime.
However, it’s important for people to take the right test at the right time!
There are two main types of Covid-19 test: the Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test and the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.
Lateral flow tests are used to identify people who may have no coronavirus symptoms but still have Covid-19, and could therefore be passing on the virus to loved ones and others without even realising it.
They are good at identifying people who have lots of the virus, and are infectious at the time.
Residents are encouraged to regularly take this “spot test” at home or at an LFD test site. It doesn’t have to be sent to a lab to be processed, and you get the results within 30 minutes.
PCR tests, which are sent to a lab to be processed, are better at finding very small amounts of the virus in people who may not be infectious yet. They are primarily used to test people who have coronavirus symptoms.
Unfortunately, I’ve had patients with coronavirus symptoms who have taken a lateral flow test and received a negative result. This means that they could unwittingly be infecting loved ones.
You will have probably have seen on the news that infection rates have gone up considerably in Bolton. We are particularly concerned about the Deane, Rumworth and Great Lever areas.
That’s why we want everyone who lives, works or studies in those three areas to take a PCR, even if they don’t have symptoms. This will help us to quickly identify positive cases and clamp down on the virus.
I urge everyone in these areas to take part in the testing programme and take their vaccination when offered it; the vaccine is safe and effective.
Everybody in Bolton also needs to continue to play their part by following the guidance, keeping their distance, washing hands regularly, wearing a face mask when required and letting fresh air in.
Coronavirus hasn’t gone away yet and the longer the virus is out there, the more chance there is of new variants emerging.
More information about how and when to get tested is on Bolton Council’s website.