Door-to-door testing for coronavirus is being considered in Moray due to a “rapidly deteriorating” outbreak of Covid-19, a health board has said.
NHS Grampian said uncontrolled and sustained community transmission of the virus is taking place in the region, with current restrictions failing to contain the spread.
The health board has launched an incident management team (IMT) to try to bring the virus back under control, and is urging people to get tested even if they do not have symptoms.
Door-to-door testing is being “heavily considered” for Elgin, the epicentre of the outbreak.
The latest statistics show that Moray had 79.3 cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days, significantly higher than the rate in the rest of the country.
Nearby Aberdeenshire and Highland have just 10 and 11 cases per 100,000 respectively.
East Dunbartonshire has the second highest number of cases in Scotland, with 37.7.
Test positivity in Moray is at 3.2%, while across Scotland the figure has been slightly above or below one in recent weeks.
The most recent figures show that 7,660 people have died in Scotland with coronavirus, with no fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours.
A total of 283 cases were recorded across the country overnight, taking the total since the start of the pandemic to 227,012.
Chris Littlejohn, deputy director of public health at NHS Grampian, will chair the IMT.
He said: “In Moray we are now seeing uncontrolled, sustained community transmission, current restrictions are not containing it, and the situation is rapidly deteriorating.
“We are seeing hospitalisations from this – including in the under-50s – and we will see deaths if the situation is not brought under control.”
He said intervention now could prevent the need for further restrictions.
Moray is due to move from Level 3 to Level 2 of the Scottish Government’s five tiers of restrictions on May 17 along with the rest of the country.
Mr Littlejohn said while the outbreak is concentrated in Elgin, cases are also rising in Lossiemouth, Buckie and Keith.
He added: “Analytics have shown us many people in the region have returned to their workplaces, rather than working from home.
“It remains the advice people should work from home where possible and we really need people to do that, where they can.”
A mobile testing unit (MTU) will operate from Elgin Academy from Friday and will provide PCR testing for staff and pupils on school days and be open to the public during the weekend.
MTUs will also be visiting towns and villages around the region in the coming days.