Covid case numbers at Elgin Academy have nearly doubled over the long weekend amid an outbreak in the community.
Moray currently has the highest levels of coronavirus anywhere in Scotland with health officials warning of a “worrying trend” in the region.
Rise of Covid cases at Elgin Academy
NHS Grampian has confirmed the number of Covid cases associated with Elgin Academy has risen from 28 on Friday to 46 today.
However, it is understood the outbreak is not being treated as a single cluster with transmission believed to be happening outside the school gates.
Health bosses have raised concerns about the source of about a third of Moray’s cases being a mystery, raising fears of community transmission.
Moray Council has said it has received assurances from Public Health Scotland that mitigation measures inside the school are “robust” and are preventing transmission on the premises.
NHS Grampian says officials are continuing to work closely with the authority and school management on the outbreak, which began on April 10.
Meanwhile, an entire year group at Hythehill Primary School in Lossiemouth has been advised to self-isolate after a positive Covid case was linked to the class.
Children have been told they can return to school from Thursday while continuing lessons at home remotely.
A Moray Council spokeswoman said: “We commend our schools’ ability to action this support quickly.
“Due to the robust mitigations in place within the school, it will remain open for all other learners.”
And pupils at New Elgin Primary School have also returned to class after tests returned negative results.
One year group was advised to self-isolate last week after a positive case within the wider school community.
However, on re-testing, negative results were returned meaning pupils can now return to school.
Covid cases put in doubt May 17 lockdown easing
The outbreaks come as daily figures published by the Scottish Government show 15 new Covid cases in Moray have been recorded – more than the 11 reported in both Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and the eight in the Highlands.
The figures mean Moray currently has an infection rate of 77.2 cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days – significantly higher than Aberdeen on 15.7, Aberdeenshire on 12.2 and the Highlands on 11 and more than three times the national average of 21.3.
The outbreak remains predominantly focused on Elgin with some parts of the town recording Covid rates of more than 200 cases per 100,000 of people during the last week.
The recent spike in cases also puts the region significantly higher than the threshold of 50 cases per 100,000 over seven days, which is required for Covid restrictions to be eased to Level 2.
Latest figures show every of Scotland is currently meeting the requirement – except Moray, which could potentially be held at the current Level 3 restrictions.
An announcement is expected to be made by the Scottish Government next week about whether the country will move to Level 2 restrictions as expected on May 17.
Moray Council convener Shona Morrison said: “I think people are getting the message and they are curious to know what is happening and the reasoning behind it.
“It’s very difficult because we know there is an issue in schools but also that these cases are unrelated so people are also confused, understandably – but that’s the nature of this infection, it spreads so quickly.
“It’s very difficult to pinpoint what is happening but it’s very rare I don’t see anyone adhering to social distancing or wearing a mask.”