Isolate if you PCR test negative but have Covid symptoms as 'worst cold ever' sweeps UK

People who test negative after a PCR test but have Covid-19 symptoms are urged to self-isolate as what is known as “worst cold ever” is sweeping the UK

Family doctors in the Southwest are seeing “a stream of patients” who received positive lateral flow tests but subsequently received negative PCR results. reports the BBC.

It comes as what some have dubbed “the worst cold ever” and continues to spread to wider parts of the UK – with reports that many in the North West, including Merseyside, are now falling ill with something similar.

Dr. Philippa Kaye, a general practitioner based in London, said the numbers were already as high as you’d see in a normal winter, reports The mirror

UK Health Authority’s Senior Medical Advisor Susan Hopkins confirmed that the agency “has been made aware of some areas where positive results from lateral flow tests followed by negative PCR tests have been reported”.

She said the UKHSA was “investigating the cause” adding that it was important to read and follow the test kit instructions to avoid false readings.

Lucy Pocock, a family doctor with Cadbury Heath Healthcare in South Gloucestershire, told the BBC: “Myself and my colleagues have seen a stream of patients with Covid symptoms that are very typical for us.

“Several of these patients performed multiple lateral flow tests, all positive, and then rightly performed a PCR test that turned out negative.

“The worrying thing here is that these people are all clearly symptomatic and have a very unexpected negative PCR result.”

Becky Reynolds, director of public health for Bath and North East Somerset Council, said the council is aware of the situation.

She told the BBC: “It’s confusing … I think we’ll just have to endure it while the investigation is in progress.”

“The advice is also to think about your local situation, to carry out an individual risk assessment … so how high is the probability that you still have Covid despite negative PCR?

“If you think about it, there is quite a chance that you have Covid, even if the PCR is negative, then consider it Covid and isolate yourself.”

Professor It Yates of the University of Bath from the Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies called for the situation to be investigated “seriously and quickly”.

“The public health of England has informally suggested that even if you get a negative PCR test, you should self-isolate, especially if you have symptoms, although this is not government guidance.

“The problem with this is that if you don’t have a positive PCR test, you won’t be able to access the isolation assistance you may need.

“Telling people to self-isolate even if they get a negative PCR test may not be as convenient for many people.”

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