COVID cases in East Ayrshire have begun rising again with the number of weekly cases jumping up by nearly double from week to week.

According to statistics from Public Health Scotland there were 58 positive cases of the virus between April 18-24, that’s up from 31 we reported last week.

The new total gives the area positivity rate per 100,000 population of 47.5, the second highest in the country.

Cases appear to be spread across the region with nine of East Ayrshire’s neighbourhoods no longer classified as having suppressed the virus. In the Cumnock and Doon Valley area those neighbourhoods are Mauchline Rural (8 cases), Cumnock Rural (6 cases), Cumnock South and Craigens (5 cases). At least 25 cases were recorded in Kilmarnock and surrounding neighbourhoods and the remaining cases will be spread amongst the 21 suppressed neighbourhoods.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s vaccination priorities have shifted towards second doses, with hardly any new first doses recorded in the last week. Now 66.5 per cent of adults in East Ayrshire have received a first jag and 22.6 per cent have had a second too.

The latest figures from the National Records of Scotland show that for the third consecutive week there was one death in the area where COVID was mentioned on the death certificate.

This week the entire country moved into level three of the Scottish Government’s COVID levels framework.

Some semblance of normality has resumed on our high streets, with hospitality venues, non-essential shops, and civic buildings opening up their doors again.

The next stage in the easing of lockdown will be on May 17, when it is hoped that all council areas will be moved to level two, which means that people will be able to meet up in each others homes once again.

Indoor hospitality is expected to resume with alcohol being served and pubs or restaurants allowed to stay open until 10.30pm.