In a coronavirus statement at the Scottish Parliament the First Minister told MSPs an increase of more than 70% in the average new daily cases was recorded between the week to August 22 and the week to August 29.
However, figures for the most recent week, to September 5, show a daily average of 6,304 – an increase of 9%.
The levels of infection across the country - albeit that we may be seeing some potential and very welcome signs of stabilisation - remain far too high
Ms Sturgeon said: “The data I have just reported, showing what seems to be a slowing in the rate of increase in new cases, gives us more cause for cautious optimism than we have had for a few weeks.
“But – and I’m afraid this is the hard part – cases are still rising, week on week, and they are currently at their highest levels since the start of the pandemic.”
She said this partly reflects that significantly more tests are being carried out now than in the earlier stages of the pandemic.
The First Minister said: “The levels of infection across the country – albeit that we may be seeing some potential and very welcome signs of stabilisation – remain far too high.
“That is why we must continue to monitor the situation very closely and be prepared – as any responsible government must be – to take any targeted and proportionate action that we consider necessary to keep the country as safe as possible.”
She said the number of people in hospital with coronavirus has risen by almost 50% between the seven days to Friday and the previous week.
In the daily coronavirus figures published on Wednesday, 883 people were in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19, up 78 on the previous day, with 82 in intensive care, up five.
The daily figures show 17 coronavirus-linked deaths and 5,810 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll under the daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – to 8,198
2,891,907 people in Scotland have been tested for #coronavirus
The total confirmed as positive has risen by 5,810 to 480,824
Sadly 17 more people who tested positive have died (8,198 in total)
Latest update ➡️ https://t.co/bZPbrCoQux
Health advice ➡️ https://t.co/l7rqArB6Qu pic.twitter.com/r4mirIBwbK
— Scottish Government (@scotgov) September 8, 2021
The First Minister warned there is currently “very severe” pressure on the NHS adding: “So that inescapable fact remains – if we don’t see the rate of increase slow further and then fall, many more people will become seriously ill. And, sadly, some of them will die.”
She said: “We continue to hope that – and indeed as I have been outlining, recent data gives us a bit more of a solid basis for this – we can turn the corner through continued care and caution and stringent compliance with existing mitigations and without having to reintroduce any tighter restrictions.
“But to do that – as has been the case throughout the pandemic – we need the help of every business and individual across the country.”
She urged people and businesses to stick to the restrictions still in place.
Ms Sturgeon also urged people to get vaccinated, as the latest daily figures showed 4,130,841 people have received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination and 3,749,767 have received their second dose.