The number of weekly positive Covid cases recorded in North Ayrshire has shot up again, increasing by more than 200 from one week to the next.

The latest data from Public Health Scotland reveals there were 515 new cases between August 14-20. That’s an increase of nearly 50 per cent from the 357 recorded the week before.

It gives the region a seven-day rate per 100,000 of population of 383.6, which previously would earmark it to enter one of the strictest tiers before the whole country moved out the levels framework on August 9.

Most of the country appears to be seeing a similar increase in case numbers as the virus spreads now that most restrictions have been removed.

However, nationwide, hospitalisations do not yet appear to be rising. The seven-day moving average is actually declining at the moment, but that could change if this increase in case numbers leads to illness for those contracting it.

Although the hospitalisation figures aren’t increasing, health boards across the country are still feeling the strain, with NHS Ayrshire and Arran cancelling some planned operations because of Covid pressures.

As well as that, almost 60 per cent of all Scottish emergency hospital waiting times of more than 12 hours over one month were in Ayrshire earlier this year, which is thought to have been a factor in stopping planned operations.

Around 94 per cent of the adult population in North Ayrshire have had at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, while 84.4 per cent have had two jags.