News

COVID-19 testing update

Published: 15 Mar 2020 08:15

Public should only contact GP or NHS 111 if symptoms worsen.

Surveillance testing for COVID-19 (coronavirus) will be expanded to monitor the spread of the virus in the community. The programme will be extended to GP practices covering up to 1.2 million people across all health boards in Scotland.

It will test people presenting with relevant symptoms, including with flu-like symptoms or general respiratory illness and underlying health conditions. It will also support the continued testing of people admitted to hospital with symptoms.

People following the guidance to stay at home for seven days if they have mild symptoms of a new cough or raised temperature will not be routinely tested – and will continue to be advised to only phone NHS 111 or contact the GP if their condition worsens.

Surveillance testing will provide real-time information on how the virus is spreading in Scotland, which will inform NHS planning and allow resources to be directed where they are needed most. 

Key workers such as NHS staff will continue to be tested if they show symptoms.

Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer has said.

“This new approach to testing will enable us to understand the pattern and spread of coronavirus in the community, to develop a clear assessment of the situation and to predict the peak number of cases, without having to test everyone with possible symptoms.

“Those with mild symptoms do not need to be tested. They should continue to stay at home for seven days and only contact their GP or 111 if their condition worsens.

“Everybody has a role to play in helping contain this outbreak by following the latest health advice and basic hygiene precautions such as washing hands frequently, not touching their face and covering their nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.”

Background

Read the Chief Medical Officer’s letter to health boards.

Read the COVID-19 Guidance for Non-Healthcare Settings.

Further additional guidance can also be found on HPS’ COVID-19 page.

The latest numbers of test results are published at 2pm each day on the Scottish Government website.

Common symptoms of coronavirus include:
• fever or a temperature of above 37.8°C
• new continuous cough

Updates on public health advice for coronavirus can be found on the NHS Inform website, and a free helpline has been set up for those who do not have symptoms but are looking for general health advice: 0800 028 2816.

For anyone who is planning to travel abroad, guidance can be found on fitfortravel. Where a COVID-19 risk is identified, country pages will be updated.