Coronavirus FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions on Coronavirus in Stockport

Cases and testing

Are we seeing more positive cases because we're testing more?

We look at both the total number of people who test positive and the ‘positivity rate’, which is the number of positive tests for every 100 tests taken. Both rates are reviewed on a daily basis to inform our decisions on what precautions need to be started or stopped locally.

I do not know what the current symptoms are

The most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a recent onset of any of the following:

  • a fever
  • a new continuous cough
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell

If you have any of these symptoms, however mild, you need to self-isolate at home and get a test. Everyone else in your household needs to self-isolate too.

I’m not showing symptoms but would like a test

If you’re concerned you might have COVID-19, because you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or because you have mild symptoms, such as a cough that isn’t really continuous, then you can get a test at

If you want a test for some other reason, for example because you have caring responsibilities, or for travel, you can book a test via the same website, but the service will be slightly slower, because priority is given to people with symptoms.

I’ve had COVID-19 before, do I need a test again?

You may be able to get COVID-19 more than once. If it’s at least 6 weeks since you last tested positive, you can get another test. Within 6 weeks of a positive test, you should still self-isolate if you develop new symptoms, but shouldn’t get another test.

How can I get a test if I can’t drive to a testing site?

Tests are available at 4 locations within Stockport, as well as at the airport or Etihad Stadium. You can also arrange for a test to be posted out to you. Availability does vary, so visit to find out your options.

Can I get a lift to the testing site?

COVID-19 spreads very easily in cars and taxis, and this isn’t entirely prevented by face coverings. You should only travel for a COVID-19 test in your own car, or a car driven by someone in your household.

Do not use shared cars, taxis or public transport, as this puts other people at risk. Walk or cycle instead, or if it’s too far, order a postal testing kit.

Remember, if you have symptoms, you and your household members need to self-isolate, except when going for a test.

I’ve had a positive antibody test, can I get COVID-19 again?

You can get COVID-19 more than once. We do not know whether antibodies stop you from giving COVID-19 to someone else. If you get symptoms, you still need to self-isolate and get a test, regardless of your antibody status.

The R number

What is the R number?

The reproduction number (R) is the average number of secondary infections resulting from 1 infected person.

An R number of 1 means that on average every person who is infected will infect 1 other person, meaning the total number of new infections is stable. If R is 2, on average, each infected person infects 2 more people. If R is 0.5 then on average for each 2 infected people, there will be only 1 new infection.

R indicates whether the epidemic is getting bigger or smaller but not how large it is. If R is greater than 1 the epidemic is growing, if R is less than 1 the epidemic is shrinking. R can change over time. For example, it falls when there is a reduction in the number of close contacts between people, which reduces transmission.

Who estimates the R number?

R cannot be measured directly so there is always some uncertainty around its exact value. R is estimated by a range of independent modelling groups based in universities and Public Health England (PHE); they publish estimated R values for the UK and its regions (see reproduction number (R))

As data on infection and R is estimated through a model based on data on symptomatic cases, hospitalisations, or deaths, there is a delay of around 2 to 3 weeks in estimating R because as there is a lag between people becoming infected, entering hospital, and sadly dying.

As the R value is modelled and as the data volumes below regional levels are small, R cannot be calculated for local authorities.

What data is available for Stockport?

The Public Health system in Stockport looks at a wide range of data about the number of cases, tests and contacts in Stockport, Some of this data is confidential but some of this data is available to members of the public. Visit our webpages for more information.

One of the key measures is the rate of new cases per 100,000 population which helps us understand how the level of new infections in Stockport compares to other areas. Due to the low number of cases in Stockport, on a daily basis this rate can vary quite a lot so we analyse this as a seven-day average. Data on the rate per 100,000 is published weekly and is also published as part of the Greater Manchester Covid-19 Management Board data set.


I am a beauty therapist can I now offer facial treatments?

Local restrictions in Stockport were eased on Wednesday 2 September, meaning that our current local restrictions align with the rest of the country (not affected by additional local restrictions). Close contact services, including any treatments on the face such as eyebrow threading or make-up application can therefore resume now. But all businesses must follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines.

For more information, visit:

Now the restrictions have eased which businesses are able to offer services again?

The following businesses and activities can reopen safely – this means they have to follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines when reopening:

  • casinos
  • skating rinks
  • bowling alleys
  • indoor play areas, including soft play areas
  • indoor performances
  • remaining close contact services, including any treatments on the face such as eyebrow threading or make-up application
  • wedding receptions and celebrations for up to 30 people, in the form of a sit-down meal

For more information, visit:

Are you still testing in Care Homes?

Care Homes in Stockport receive prompt tests for anyone with symptoms, weekly tests for staff and tests every month for residents. Where an outbreak has been identified, we test all staff and residents as a priority, with all those who test negative being tested again 4-7 days later. We have been assured by the Department of Health and Social Care that these tests are prioritised.

Do I need to save up tests for future use?

Do not stockpile tests – we have plenty of stock and if you develop symptoms in future you will be able to book a test. There is no need to order a test in case of future use.

What restrictions do I need to follow if I have family in neighbouring districts of GM?

You need to adhere to the government restrictions for that area. Currently this means you cannot visit anyone in their home or garden in any areas still subject to local additional restrictions in Greater Manchester; neither can residents from those areas visit you in your home or garden in Stockport, unless they are in your support bubble.

For more information, visit

Although local restrictions were lifted on Wednesday 2 September, what should I still avoid doing?

Any socialising still requires you to observe social distancing from people you do not live with or are not in your support bubble.

It remains the case that you should not:

  • meet indoors or outdoors, including in private homes, with other households in groups of more than six people. This does not apply to individual households or support bubbles of more than six who will still be able to gather together.
  • interact socially with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship
  • hold or attend celebrations, such as parties, where it is difficult to maintain social distancing and avoid close social interaction, even if they are organised by businesses and venues that are taking steps to follow COVID-19 secure guidelines
  • stay overnight away from your home with members of more than one other household; your support bubble counts as 1 household

From 14 September it will be against the law to meet people you do not live with in a group larger than 6 (unless you are meeting as a household or support bubble). The police will have the powers to enforce these legal limits, including to issue fines (fixed penalty notice) of £100, doubling for further breaches up to a maximum of £3,200.For more information visit