THE weekly amount of positive COVID tests being returned in North Ayrshire continues to increase, giving us the second worst rate in the country.

One week after we moved out of the Scottish Government’s coronavirus levels system of restrictions the virus appears to be spreading throughout the area.

The latest Public Health Scotland figures show that there were 354 cases recorded between August 8-14, which is an increase from 289 recorded the previous week.

It gives us a seven-day rate per 100,000 of population of 263.7. Only Dumfries and Galloway has a worse rate (275.1) by this measure.

However, nationwide, the number of people being hospitalised or admitted to ICU with coronavirus remains at a lower level than was the case with previous waves of the virus.

This is thought to be the case because of the effects COVID vaccines have had on reducing the chances of symptoms emerging or serious illness developing to those who catch the virus.

There has been just one death from the virus in North Ayrshire in the past month according to PHS.

And on the vaccine front we are nearing double vaccination for the entire adult population of North Ayrshire.

Public Health Scotland data shows that 93.5 per cent of adults in the area have had at leat one dose of a COVID vaccine and that 82 per cent have had two doses.

Nationwide, the vaccination figures are at 90.3 per cent for first doses and 78.1 per cent for second doses.