Covid-19: test positivity rates reach record high in Greater Manchester as more than one in four test positive

All 10 boroughs have been experiencing a greater percentage of tests coming back positive than at any point since last May.

Greater Manchester is experiencing record Covid-19 test positivity rates, with more than one in four PCR tests across the city-region coming back positive.

Data analysed by our sister title NationalWorld shows all 10 boroughs in the city-region now have a higher percentage of tests returning with positive results than at any time since May 2020.

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The latest data covers the week up to Christmas Eve.

And in every one of Greater Manchester’s local authorities the previous record before the latest one was set in the week ending the day before, on 23 December.

What does the data show for Greater Manchester?

The data shows that for the seven-day period up to 24 December all 10 Greater Manchester boroughs had a Covid-19 test positivity rate above 25%.

And in two boroughs, Tameside and Salford, more than three in 10 tests PCR came back positive.

The highest rate came in Tameside, where 32.2% of tests returned a positive result, followed by Salford where the rate was 31%.

The percentage rates for the other boroughs were 29.8% in Wigan, 29.5% in Manchester, 28.9% in Bury, 28.8% in Oldham, 28.3% in Stockport, 27.6% in Rochdale, 27.3% in Bolton and 27% in Trafford.

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In every case the figures for the week ending 24 December were record highs for the local authorities.

And also in every case the previous record surpassed was set on the previous seven-day rolling average, in the week up to 23 December.

What is the national picture?

The figures for the Greater Manchester local authorities are slightly above the England average, which stood at 22.4% for the seven days up to Christmas Eve.

The North West had the second-highest rate of positive tests among English regions, behind London, for the week up to 22 December, at 20.9%.

About the data

While the rate was higher before 1 May, Public Health England has said the figures then were not comparable as mass testing for the general public had not been fully rolled out.

Duplicate results for people who took more than one test are not counted.

The test positivity rate is used to measure the true scale of infection, as an overall increase in cases could be caused by more tests being carried out.

Previously the World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that a positivity rate of 5% is the threshold for determining if a pandemic is under control, although this was before the development of effective vaccines against Covid-1.

England has not been below this level since 27 June.