New testing criteria for COVID-19

The criteria for having a COVID-19 test have changed.

Now, you must have to have fever and either a cough or shortness of breath. You must also be either, a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case, Healthcare staff or part of a vulnerable group.

Vulnerable groups in this case are:

  • Those over 60 years of age
  • Those with long-term medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer or high blood pressure.
  • Immunosuppressed

Having MS does not supress your immune system. It is only those taking immunosuppressive medications to treat MS that would fit into the category of ‘Immunosuppressed’. These medications include; Tecfidera, Tysabri, Gilenya, Aubagio, Ocrevus, Rituxan, Mavenclad, Lemtrada.

People living with MS who have severe disability, swallow problems or pre-existing respiratory problems may be considered vulnerable even if they are not taking any form of disease-modifying therapy. Anyone within one year of AHSCT is also included in this group.

Do not stop taking your medication unless you are advised to do so by a member of your healthcare team.

Swabs already taken will be processed and people with appointments to be tested should still go. All other patients who do not fall into these categories will have their referrals cancelled.

If you fit into these categories for testing you need to contact your GP who will need to refer you again for another test

If you are displaying symptoms but do not fit the criteria for testing you still need to self-isolate for the full isolation time of 14 days for onset of symptoms.