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 regularly to inform local decision making.

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 for 14 days.

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

Unfortunately, we can only offer you a test if you have the above symptoms, or if you live or work in a care home.

Tests are available privately if you need one in connection with travel overseas.

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 90 days since you last tested positive, you can get another test. Within 90 days of a positive test, you should still self-isolate if you develop new symptoms but should not get another test.

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

Tests are available at several 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 is not 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.

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. This 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 7-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?

Yes, although it is now a legal requirement for all practitioners/therapists to wear face coverings and visors when carrying out any close contact services. While tier 3 in areas of high risk, such as Greater Manchester, does not allow for mixing of households indoors and outdoors, including in private gardens – this does not apply to registered business entering the home, such as mobile beauty therapists and they can continue to work as long as they follow government guidelines on working in the close contact industry.

Close contact businesses will face stricter rules to make their premises COVID Secure:

  • close contact services, including hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, sports and massage therapists, dress fitters, tailors and fashion designers, will be subject to the COVID-19 Secure requirements in law and are subject to fines of up to £10,000 for repeated breaches
  • employers must not knowingly encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work
  • businesses must remind customers to wear face coverings
  • you must carry around/display a QR code

For more information, visit:

What are the new rules for businesses?

  • Pubs and bars must close; they can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant, which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal, and they may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal
  • a wider range of leisure and entertainment venues will be subject to the COVID-19 Secure requirements and will face fines of up to £10,000 for repeated breaches
  • Businesses that will not be allowed to open include casinos, betting shops, bingo halls, adult gaming centres and soft play areas
  • weddings and civil partnership ceremonies can go ahead but will be restricted to a maximum of 15 people, down from 30; however, wedding receptions are not allowed
  • funerals can go ahead but must only take place in COVID-secure venues or in public outdoor spaces with up to 30 people in attendance. Wakes or linked ceremonial events before or after the funeral are limited to 15 people and must not take place in private homes. Where food or drink is consumed, this should be in the form of a sit-down meal to ensure people can keep their distance from each other.

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 to 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 Greater Manchester?

  • As we have now been placed on tier 3 Very High Alert, other than people you live with or have formed a support bubble with, you must not socialise with anybody in any indoor setting or in any private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events
  • You must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue
  • You can’t meet friends or family indoors in a house, pub or restaurant, unless you have formed a support bubble with them. However, you can continue to meet in outdoor public spaces, such as a park, the countryside, a public garden or sports venue, in groups of no more than six

For more information, visit GOV.UK.

What are the current restrictions around socialising and seeing friends and family?

Other than those they live with or have formed a support bubble with, Stockport residents cannot mix with people in private homes, including gardens. This will be enforceable by law. However, support bubbles count as one household, so a support bubble will now be able to meet indoors or outdoors with one other household, or one other support bubble.

Residents can meet friends or family outdoors, in a park for example, if there are no more than six of you. This means you cannot:

  • mix with friends or family you do not live with. They should not visit your home to help with childcare unless they are part of your support bubble. The only people who should help you with childcare in your home are people you live with, people in your support bubble or registered childcare providers, including nannies
  • socialise with people you do not live with, unless they’re in your support bubble, in any public venue. This applies to inside and outside of the affected areas. Examples of public venues include pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions and parks
  • visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances. Care homes should restrict visits to these circumstance
  • you should try to avoid travelling outside the very high alert level area you are in or entering a very high alert level area, other than for things like work, education or youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if you are travelling through as part of a longer journey
  • you should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if you are resident in a very high alert level area, or avoid staying overnight in a very high alert level area if you are resident elsewhere

What are the rules around children?

You can continue to use childminders, nannies, after school clubs and those in your support bubble, but not friends and family you don’t live with and who are not part of your support/ childcare bubble.

  • A support bubble is where a single adult joins with another
  • A childcare bubble means an adult can provide unpaid childcare to a child (aged 13 or under) in another house, but this must be by forming a permanent and exclusive childcare bubble that only involves two households.

Separated parents can continue to move between homes. For more information, visit GOV.UK.