NHS Grampian has recorded its highest daily increase in Covid cases since the beginning of February, according to the latest Scottish Government statistics.
However, the number of people with coronavirus in the health board’s hospitals remains low, with fewer than five recorded at the most recent update on Friday.
Public Health Scotland, the source of the statistics, does not release an exact figure for the number of patients if it is below five, and hospital numbers are not reported at weekends.
In the past 24 hours, 60 new cases of Covid were reported by NHS Grampian, which is the highest daily figure since 77 cases were reported on February 4.
A number of experts have expressed concerns that Scotland is at the beginning of a third wave of coronavirus cases, largely driven by sharp increases recorded in the cities of the Central Belt.
The three local authorities with the highest number of cases at the most recent update were Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee.
NHS Highland reported a daily increase of 18, its highest so far this month, and across the country more than 1,000 new cases were reported for the third day in a row.
Efforts to reduce hospitalisations
However, across the country there does not appear to be a sharp rise in the number of patients being treated in hospital with Covid, or in the number of deaths.
No new deaths have been reported in Scotland in the past 24 hours, and on Friday 132 people were in hospital with the virus – 26 more than there were at the beginning of June.
Efforts are ongoing to vaccinate enough of the Scottish population to avoid a third wave of serious illness and death.
More than 64% of the country’s adult population has now received their first dose, while more than 44% have had both doses.
There were fewer vaccine doses distributed in the past 24 hours than any other day this month, with 23,125 second doses and 19,909 first doses.