Health bosses in the north-east believe the number of people with Covid-19 is starting to steady.
Jillian Evans, head of health intelligence at NHS Grampian said hospitals had been “a bit quieter” in recent days – leading to hopes the health board may have overcome the worst of the recent spike in cases.
Ms Evans said current restrictions, combined with an increase in the number of people being vaccinated, would eventually lead to a fall in infections.
Speaking to the BBC’s Politics Scotland, she said: “Looking at the hospital overnight and the number of patients coming in, particularly Covid patients, certainly seems to have been a little bit quieter this weekend than we have seen in previous days.
“So I’m hoping that, as with the case numbers we are seeing across Scotland, that we are seeing a little bit of a levelling off there and the effect of Christmas and New Year perhaps beginning to slow down.
“We expect very soon to see a reduction in the number of hospitalisations as a result of the vaccine programme.
“Admissions into hospital from Christmas and the New Year should tail off in the next week.
“So then the effect of lockdown will definitely have an impact as it has before and then, as we have heard from (NHS chief executive) Simon Stevens the rate of vaccination, certainly in England, is four times faster than the number of people being infected – it is a race against the infection.
“But with a combination of things on the table at the moment, vaccination and tighter restrictions, we should begin to see a levelling off and then a gradual reduction in the numbers of cases, which of courses translates into hospitalisations.
“Against all of that is the unknown of new variants, but if we can continue to suppress the virus the risk of the new variant becomes slightly less too.”