What is community testing?
This is testing for people who have no COVID-19 symptoms but who could still be infectious and spreading the virus without knowing it.
What is a lateral flow test?
A lateral flow test is a test which can be completed on-site within 30 minutes. A Lateral Flow Device (LFD) detects the presence or absence of COVID-19 from a swab or saliva sample.
The sample is mixed with a buffer solution, which releases and breaks up virus fragments. Some of the solution is then dropped on to the lateral flow device. The sample runs along the surface of the devices' absorbent strip, showing at the end a visual positive or negative result dependent on the presence of the virus.
Unlike the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests, a lateral flow test does not need to be sent to a laboratory to be processed. This means test results are available the same day (normally within 30 minutes).
A lateral flow test is used for community testing.
Lateral flow testing is available at the Howgate Shopping Centre (Unit 14, next to USC) or the Rapid Test centre at Falkirk Stadium. Both sites offer on-site testing as well as the ability to collect testing kits for use at home.
How do I do a lateral flow test?
Staff in our local test centres can talk you through the process if you have never done a test, ensuring you understand how to complete the test correctly.
Current home kits are the ACON Flowflex (nose only) tests and each kit contains instructions on how to do the test. They are also available below:
ACON Flowflex tests (nose only) instructions
- Easy read testing information leaflet
Who can get tested?
Anyone without symptoms - can walk-in to a community testing centre and get tested. No appointment necessary.
If you have symptoms, a PCR test can be arranged online at NHS inform or by calling:
Will I need to take a test?
No. Tests are completely voluntary and there for anyone who may want one. We are hoping that many people will recognise the benefits of getting involved in local testing efforts to reduce the spread of the virus in their communities.
Why should I get tested?
Almost 1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 don't have any of the usual symptoms but are potentially passing the virus on to loved ones, friends and others in the community.
By getting tested you can find out if you are positive, and take immediate action to stop the spread of the virus to others, by self-isolating.
Where can I get tested?
Polmont Sports Centre has returned to business as normal and is no longer an LFD test site.
LFD testing is now available at the Howgate Shopping Centre and Falkirk Stadium.
Local pharmacies and LFD collection sites can be located on the NHS test finder map, alongside pop up LFD test sites.
Do I need to make an appointment to get a test?
No. Community testing centres offer a walk-in service and appointments can't be booked.
How long will a test take?
A test takes 30 minutes.
You can wait on-site in our waiting room. You can also wait on-site in your car. Or you can go home and wait on your result being sent to you.
How will I receive my test result?
You will receive your results by text message or you can wait on-site and be told face to face.
If I have a negative result with a lateral flow test does that mean I can meet up with friends and family?
No. Lateral flow testing is not as accurate as PCR testing (the test you get when you are symptomatic) so a negative result does not mean that you are not infectious at that time or in the following days. You must therefore follow all the usual precautions. This includes strictly observing face protection, 2 metre social distancing, hand and other cleaning. Remember to adhere to Government FACTS advice at all times.
What happens if I test positive?
If you test positive you will be asked to isolate that day and asked to complete a follow up PCR test to confirm the results. You must isolate whilst waiting for the results of the PCR test. Self-isolation is the best way to stop COVID-19 and infecting others around you.
We understand how difficult it can be to self-isolate and we want to help you as much as we can. Practical, confidential support is available within the Community Testing Centre to support you and your household if you test positive and need to self-isolate.
We can give you advice on different financial help which is available and help you to access it. As well as access to additional services, such as priority online shopping delivery and pharmaceutical deliveries.
Our Support for people page has further information.
How long should I self-isolate?
You will have to self-isolate for 10 days from the date of your test, or symptoms starting, and any close contacts will have to self-isolate for 10 days since their last contact with you.
More information can be found at NHS Inform.
If I test positive who are my close contacts?
A close contact is any individual you have been in close contact with in the 48 hours before your test (if not symptomatic) or 48 hours before your symptoms started and until you receive your positive test result – this is known as the "infectious period" when you could pass on the infection.
This would involve all those within your own household and any extended household, if contact was made during that period. In addition, any other individual who meets the criteria of face-to-face contact; within 1 metre for 1 minute, or within 2 metres for 15 minutes or more cumulatively over the infectious period. This may involve colleagues.
It is important that you reduce your close contacts at all times to reduce the number of individuals you could infect.
More information can be found on NHS inform.
I have been identified as a close contact of a positive case but I don't have any symptoms. Can I go back to work if I get a negative test result?
No. If you are identified as a close contact you must self-isolate for the full period of 10 days. This is because it can take up to 10 days to become infected.
If I am off work because I have symptoms, have tested positive or have been identified as a close contact, do I still get paid?
You should speak to your employer about this. Scottish Government has published the Coronavirus (COVID-19): fair work statement that states that:
"No worker should be financially penalised for following medical advice. Any absence relating to COVID-19 should not affect future sick pay entitlement or other entitlements like holiday or accrued time. It should not result in formal attendance related warnings or be accumulated with non-COVID-19 related absences in future absence management figures."
The Self-Isolation Support Grant provides £500 for low income workers who are in receipt of Universal Credit or other benefits and will lose earnings as a result of having to self-isolate.
For more information call the National Helpline:
What should I do if I have symptoms?
If you have COVID-19 symptoms – new continuous cough, fever, change in sense of smell or taste - you should NOT attend an asymptomatic testing site (ATS) such as the one in Polmont. Those who are currently self-isolating because they have been identified as a close contact, or those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days should also NOT use an ATS.
Do not attend a community testing centre if you have COVID-19 symptoms. If you have symptoms, a PCR test can be arranged online at NHS inform or by calling:
Can I make an appointment?
No appointments are needed, this is a walk-in facility.
I work 12 hour shifts. What are the opening times of the test centre?
We have extended the usual times of operation from 10am until 8pm. We would encourage you to ask your employer to be flexible and, if possible, release you for testing during your working day.
I have already tested positive for COVID-19. Should I get tested again?
If your positive test was less than 90 days ago you should not get tested again, unless you are now displaying COVID-19 symptoms. If your positive test was more than 90 days ago you can get tested again.
I have already tested negative for COVID-19. Should I get tested again?
Yes, if your test was more than a few days ago. The test result is only valid for the day of the test. You could have become infected at any point after that. Lateral flow device testing can be taken twice a week, approximately 3 days apart.
I have received the first dose of my vaccination. Should I still get tested?
Yes. The vaccination may not prevent you from spreading any infection.