The total number of weekly Covid-19 cases in North Ayrshire continues to rise alongside the number of hospitalisations and deaths from the virus in the area.

The latest figures from Public Health Scotland show that there were 830 positive tests returned between February 19-25.

That’s an increase from 804 the week before and it gives us a seven-day rate per 100,000 of population of 692.7.

North Ayrshire is the ninth least affected area by this measure.

The number of people in Ayrshire hospitals with a Covid-related illness has also increased.

The latest statistics show that yesterday there were 91 people being treated in hospitals in the area following a positive Covid test, up from 89 the week before.

There remains fewer than five people in intensive care.

The NHS Ayrshire and Arran health board area also saw a rise in the number of people who died where Covid-19 was mentioned on their death certificate.

There were more deaths linked to the virus in Ayrshire and Arran between February 14-20 than anywhere else in the country.

Figures from the National Records of Scotland published last week show that there were 13 deaths. Six of those who died were from East Ayrshire, five from North Ayrshire, and two from South Ayrshire.

Only two other health board areas saw a rise: NHS Borders (a rise from zero to three) and NHS Grampian (from six to seven).

On vaccinations, in North Ayrshire 94.4 per cent of all those aged 12 and over have had a t least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, 89.1 per cent have had two, and 73.9 per cent have had three.

The vaccine passport scheme ended yesterday, meaning large venues will no longer be required to ask for proof of patrons’ Covid vaccination status, although the app will remain live for venues who want to continue asking customers to demonstrate they are fully vaccinated.

And the requirement for secondary school pupils to wear masks in classrooms has also gone, though they will still be required to wear them in corridors.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the most recent changes in a Covid-briefing in Holyrood last week following a move from the UK Government that saw a commitment to scrap all legal requirements, including the need to self-isolate if infected.

All remaining legal coronavirus restrictions in Scotland, including the wearing of face masks in shops, hospitality venues and public transport, are expected to be lifted on March 21.

People will still be told to self-isolate if infected in Scotland but this has never been a legal requirement.

Currently, businesses are legally required to take steps to reduce the spread of Covid, including physical distancing and screens.

That will also end on March 21, as will the legal requirement to retain customers’ contact details.