Covid deaths in the Highlands are at the highest level since April.
The latest figures released by the National Records of Scotland show 17 deaths linked to the virus were reported by NHS Highland last week.
This is a sharp rise, as the statistics for the prior two weeks showed one death in each of the weeks.
These latest figures cover the period between January 18 and January 24, and include all deaths where Covid-19, including suspected cases, is mentioned on a person’s death certificate.
In April last year, deaths hit 23 and then 22 in consecutive weeks – but 17 is the highest since then.
There were three deaths in Moray last week, one in Shetland, but none in Orkney or the Western Isles.
In the seven days to January 24, the number of positive cases in Highland was 188.
Invergordon outbreak appears under control
Despite the number of deaths, the local breakdown of new cases showed that the Invergordon outbreak seems to be under control.
There were 36 cases in the town last week, while the number was 62 the week before following an outbreak in local care homes.
Thurso has experienced an outbreak with 19 cases last week, up from 10 the week before.
Struan Mackie, Provost of Thurso, said: “The general infection rate has been climbing. We have had a new testing centre open in the last number of weeks and a lot more people are being tested, which is showing up in the infection figures.”
Barra is currently experiencing a Covid outbreak, with 50 cases.
Another sick coronavirus patient was flown from Barra, the seventh emergency airlift since the cluster started.
Of the Highland population, 11.7% has been vaccinated, 15.93% in the Western Isles and 10.9% in Moray.