Got a question about asymptomatic COVID testing? You'll find answers to most common queries and concerns below.   

About the testing

 

How do I get a test and what will happen when I go for a test?

You can book nowFind out what happens when you come for a test.

Are tests compulsory?

Testing is an important tool in helping to prevent the transmission of the virus. While tests are not compulsory, you are strongly encouraged to take two tests when you return to your term-time accommodation to help mitigate the risk of asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19.

Will I be legally required to take a test change household?

No.

I am not showing any symptoms – do I need a test?

A proportion of those with COVID-19 infection will have very few or no symptoms.  Testing of people with no symptoms is a really important way for you to limit the risk of transferring infection. Even if you are not showing any symptoms of COVID-19 we strongly recommend you get a lateral flow COVID-19 test before changing household.

I have already had COVID. Should I still come for a test?

If you have recently (within 90 days) tested positive for COVID-19, you are likely to have developed some immunity, and therefore a repeat lateral flow test is unlikely to be necessary within this period. If having recently tested positive for COVID-19, you choose to have a lateral flow test as part of this programme, please ensure the  lateral flow test is not taken whilst still within your period of isolation following the last confirmed test, which if symptoms persist could be longer than the typical 10-day period for confirmed cases.

What type of testing are you doing?

Scottish universities and colleges will be part of a UK-wide offer to test asymptomatic students for COVID-19 before they return home. Universities and colleges will be utilising lateral flow devices (LFDs) - a clinically validated swab antigen test that does not require a laboratory for processing and can produce rapid results within half an hour at the location of the test.

Lateral flow tests are less sensitive than the PCR tests used by the NHS. What this means is that they do not pick up all the same infections that PCR tests do. This is why we recommend two tests, three to five days apart.

However, lateral flow tests are very specific, which means that only a very small proportion of people who do not have coronavirus will receive a positive result (false positive). However, in mass testing, because so many people without symptoms are being tested there is still the possibility of getting a false positive result. Therefore, if you test positive on a lateral flow test, you will be asked to have a confirmatory PCR test to reduce the risk of a false positive.

I am an international student in quarantine. Can I get a lateral flow COVID test on campus while I am in quarantine?

Sorry, no. This is not permitted under government guidance.  If you develop symptoms of COVID while you are in quarantine, you should book a PCR test via NHS Inform.

What happens if I am medically exempt from wearing a mask or face covering?

Appropriate face coverings need to be worn throughout the testing process whilst in the testing facility, apart from when guided by a testing professional to remove it when your sample is taken. Should you have a medical exemption from wearing a mask, please wear a visor to the site and alert the site manager about your situation as soon as you arrive at site so that they can take additional precautions. Please note the visor alone is not considered face covering, as they do not provide adequate protection alone.

I may need additional help – will that be available?

Assisted testing is available for anyone who may require additional help with the process – including assistance with the swabbing of their throat or nose, or help with reading instructions. If an assisted test is required, please inform staff upon arrival, when completing registration.

Getting your results

How will I get my results?

You will receive your results by SMS around half an hour after your test.

Why do I need two tests?

Lateral flow tests are less sensitive than the PCR tests used by the NHS. What this means is that they do not pick up all the same infections that PCR tests do. That is why we recommend two tests, ideally three days apart.

However, lateral flow tests are very specific, which means that only a very small proportion of people who do not have coronavirus will receive a positive result (false positive). In mass testing, because so many people without symptoms are being tested there is still the possibility of getting a false positive result. Therefore, if you test positive on a lateral flow test, you will be asked to have a confirmatory PCR test to reduce the risk of a false positive.

What will happen if my first lateral flow test result is negative?

If you test negative on your first test then you should book another test for within three days. You can continue to work/attend class as usual. You should continue to follow the Scottish Government's FACTS guidance and any additional restrictions in your local area. 

The Scottish Government  are asking students who wish to return home at the end of semester to voluntarily reduce their social mixing for two weeks before changing household and ten days before and after they return to their term-time accommodation. This means going out only for essential reasons including learning, food shopping and exercise. You should continue to do this after receiving your first negative result.

What happens if I receive two negative tests?

If your second test is also negative, you should continue to follow FACTS and the guidance for the area you are staying in.  A negative test still means there is a risk you could have or develop COVID as a test is a reflection of one point in time.

If you test negative but are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, you should self-isolate in line with current guidance.

You should continue to follow the Scottish Government’s FACTS guidance at all times.

Why do I have to minimise my social contact after a negative test?

After a negative test, you are still susceptible to becoming infected and spreading the virus. Minimising your social contact and continuing to follow the Scottish Government’s FACTS guidance is the most powerful way of stopping the spread of the virus.

If you have a positive result

What will happen if my test is positive?

You will receive a text message advising you have a positive test result and giving you advice on self isolation.

You will be advised to undertake a confirmatory PCR test by booking through NHS Inform or by calling 0800 028 2816. You should select the 'I have been asked to get a test' category in the initial menu. You should self-isolate immediately, and whilst you wait for your PCR test,  in line with the guidance on self-isolation. You will also need to tell Security (0131 474 0000 ext 2222) plus Accommodation (0131 474 0000 x 4902) if you live on campus, and contact the School Office.

We also recommend that you get in touch with anyone you have been in close contact with (particularly household members) and advise them to self-isolate until you have your PCR test.  If you receive a positive PCR test please work with the contact tracing team as part of Test and Protect, when they get in touch. Close contacts will be asked to self-isolate.

You should self-isolate at your term-time accommodation. However the Scottish Government acknowledges that there will be circumstances in which it may not be possible for you to remain in student accommodation (for example, wellbeing reasons).  They ask that you consider any return home carefully before making a decision and that you do so in line with Scottish Government guidance for student home visits.

Do I or the people I live with have to self isolate if receive a positive lateral flow test result?

Yes. You and your household should isolate and you should book a PCR rest through NHS Inform or by calling 0800 028 2816. You and your household will be advised to isolate until you get the result from your PCR test. 

If your subsequent PCR test is negative, you and your household can stop isolating, but only after you have received a negative PCR test result.

If you have tested positive on your PCR test then you should continue to isolate for 10 days (from your PCR test). The people in your household will need to isolate for 10 days as they are deemed close contacts. 

If you test negative but are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, you should self-isolate in your term time accommodation for 10 days  If you need to return home because you require the care of a friend, family member or other supportive person to allow you to comply with the requirement to self-isolate, it is important that you follow the guidance on student home visits to ensure that any return home can be done as safely as possible.

Will my contacts be traced?

If you receive a positive lateral flow test, you will be asked to undertake a confirmatory PCR test. If the PCR test result is positive, you will be asked to continue to isolate and you will be contacted by NHS Test and Protect to begin the full contact tracing process.

Why do I have to minimise my social contact after a negative test?

After a negative test, you are still susceptible to becoming infected and spreading the virus. Minimising your social contact and continuing to follow the Scottish Government’s FACTS guidance is the most powerful way of stopping the spread of the virus.

If positive I’ll have to self-isolate. Why would I take the risk of taking the test?

We all need to do our bit to stop the spread of the virus and protect our family, friends and the wider community. Participating in the test will help protect the people you care about, will help fight the pandemic and could save lives. Self-isolation is an essential part of the fight against the virus. Be sure to notify the University if you are self-isolating and we will be able to support you through any period of self-isolation.

What support will I get from the University if I test positive?

If you live on campus, we will keep in contact with you and we will help you access food and medicine. We can help with accessing online food deliveries from our on-campus caterers and can supply essentials in an emergency situation.

If you are living on campus and need to self-isolate but your accommodation contract is due to end, please contact Accommodation Services to extend your stay at no additional cost.

If you are living off campus, you can obtain advice and support via our usual Student Services and our COVID inbox.

If you are feeling anxious or need support, do remember that the University is here to help you. Contact Accommodation Services, Student Services or the Students’ Union for support.

Other questions

Who is running the test centre at QMU?

The centre is being run by the University, in partnership with the UK Government, adhering to strictly prescribed operating procedure, risk assessment and data protection requirements. All staff involved have had full training, with clinical testing on site being overseen by a clinician who is also a member of the University’s Nursing team.

I’m confused: how many different types of tests are out there and what’s the difference between them?

There are two main types of test used to check if people currently have coronavirus.

The first type of test is known as a PCR test, and looks for the virus’s genetic material (Ribonucleic acid or RNA). These tests are currently more commonly used for symptomatic testing. They require a laboratory to be processed.

The second is called a lateral flow antigen test, which detects the coronavirus antigen that is produced when a person is infectious with coronavirus. These are faster tests, that produce a result within 30 minutes and do not require a laboratory to be processed. This is the test that is currently being offered in this programme.

Who sees the test results? How is this data stored?

Trained staff on site analyse the sample and upload the test results linked to a barcode to the NHS Test & Protect digital system. To protect privacy and confidentiality, the testing site is unable to link any results to individuals. The Test & Protect systems will link the registration record with the test result.

If the result of the test is positive, you should self-isolate and you will be offered a confirmatory PCR test to rule out the very small chance of a false positive test.

Lateral flow test results will be notifiable to NHS Test & Protect. Results will also be sent to your registered GP and Public Health Scotland.

I am an English student at QMU? Is there any specific guidance for me?

Information from the Department for Education in Westminster of their guidance.

Scottish Government advice on semester two

Need to cancel or re-schedule a test appointment?

When you book your test appointment, you have the opportunity tp cancel your appointment at the end of the process. Just click the 'Cancel booking' blue button that you will find on the bottom right hand side of your booking confirmation message.

If you want to cancel or re-schedule your appointment at a later date, all you need to do is click the 'Change your appointment' link on the email we send you with your booking confirmation, then follow the instructions.  Cancellations must be made 24 hours before your test.

 

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