There are tentative signs that the Omicron variant of Covid-19 may have hit its peak in North Ayrshire, as the latest Covid stats show declining case rates being reported.

The latest figures from Public Health Scotland show that there were 1,764 positive test results returned in South Ayrshire between January 1-7.

That is an increase from 1,434 that we reported last week as occurring between December 22-28 (PHS did not publish figures over the new year period).

However it is lower than the seven-day total being recorded at the end of last week, which was above 2,000.

On January 7 there were 140 positive tests reported – the third lowest in 30 days – and provisional data for January 8 suggests there were as few as 39, though this figure is subject to revision.

The picture will become clearer later this week if this apparent drop in cases is sustained.

Of those aged over 12 in North Ayrshire, 93.9 per cent have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, 86.8 per cent have had two, and 67.6 per cent have had three doses.

There are currently 122 people in the NHS Ayrshire and Arran health board area in hospital with a Covid-related illness, the highest total since October 12 (125).

However, there are less than five people in intensive care. There were seven people in intensive care on October 12.

Last week, NHS Ayrshire and Arran heath chiefs announced that ambulances would be diverted from Crosshouse to University Hospital Ayr as they battled rising staff absences.