Worrying new NHS Grampian figures on the new Covid-19 variant show the number of cases could reach up to 6,000 a week by February.
An internal public health briefing, seen by the Press and Journal, warns of a “rapid acceleration” across all areas of the north-east – and that the region could experience a rise in cases each week from 1,400 to around 3,000 – 6,000 by the beginning of next month.
The projection also states that less than half of the new cases can be linked to a known event or outbreak suggesting that community spread accounts for the majority.
In the briefing paper, Susan Webb, director of public health at NHS Grampian, told MPs and MSPs that with test positivity in the wider community at 18%, all indications are that Covid-19 is “widespread”.
However, Ms Webb also stated that contact tracers “continue to reach almost 100% of all cases” with “over 90% completed within 72 hours of a test being taken”.
She said: “The core response to this pandemic remains on us as individuals, communities and businesses to act responsibly.
“The highly contagious strain of the virus means than we must be more vigilant than ever before.”
Since January 4 the seven-day rate per 100,000 was 250, as cases have spiked across Aberdeenshire by 81%, Aberdeen City by 64% and Moray by 96%.
North-east hospitals have also been pushed to breaking point as the number of new Covid-19 cases has risen and fears mount that occupancy levels could overwhelm the health system.
Aberdeen councillor Martin Grieg said: “The numbers of people getting affected will go down when there is genuine effort to stay apart – sadly that is the only way to shorten the period of lockdown.
“There might be some who think that the vaccine is going to protect them. That is not a useful message because right now, there is such a heartbreaking increase in individuals dying.
“It is our shared responsibility to look after each other – and not be selfish and thoughtless.”
Aberdeen MSP Kevin Stewart added: “This data heralds a clear warning – this is an extremely dangerous situation and compliance with the rules is absolutely critical, more critical than it ever has been throughout the course of the pandemic.
“With more than half of the care home population now vaccinated we have light at the end of the tunnel, but the battle is far from over yet and every single one of us has a part to play in the national effort against the virus.
“This is a pivotal moment and the message is crystal clear– stay at home, protect our NHS, save lives.”