Level three Covid restrictions could remain in Moray past mid-May if infection rates do not come down, a senior public health official has said.
Jillian Evans, the head of health intelligence at NHS Grampian, said the situation in Moray was “very fragile”.
Scotland is due to move to level two on 17 May, but she said Moray would need to “reverse” the rise first.
The area has a rate of 78.3 cases per 100,000 – more than three times the national average.
Ms Evans told BBC Scotland’s The Nine programme that the situation was “unfamiliar” to residents as they had experienced a very “quiet pandemic” so far.
Moray has seen some of the lowest case rates in mainland Scotland during the course of the outbreak until recent weeks.
The weekly case rate per 100,000 is one of the key measures the Scottish government uses to decide which Covid level a local authority should be placed in.
Other indicators include the percentage of positive tests and pressure on local hospitals.
The threshold for level three was lowered to 50 cases per 100,000 in March. Moray is currently the only Scottish local authority above this threshold.
Asked if she would support an increase in restrictions in Moray, Ms Evans replied: “Yes I would actually. I would prefer us to consider ways in which we can all keep ourselves safe, whether that needs special measures for Moray.
“We’re still in level three at the moment. It’s not too late to move along with the rest of Scotland, but that will require people to take regular testing.
“Don’t meet up indoors in people’s homes and try by and large to follow those guidelines because they are there for a reason.”
She said the recent surge in infections in Moray was worrying because they were not linked to a “known chain of transmission”, with many of the cases also asymptomatic.
“We’re not sure if we’ve seen the numbers peak yet,” Ms Evans added.
“I don’t think it’s too late for us to reverse the situation before the level decisions come in mid-May but it is a very fragile situation at the moment.”
On 1 May, Public Health Scotland reported 78.3 weekly cases per 100,000 in Moray, compared to a national average of 21.9.
In Tuesday’s figures published by the Scottish government, no Covid deaths within 28 days of a positive test were recorded for the fourth consecutive day – although registration is often delayed with offices closed over the weekend and on bank holidays.
There are currently 58 Covid patients in hospital with 11 being treated in intensive care.