As I write this on Saturday, I find myself once again concerned not just at the rate of infection in our area, but the speed at which we have seen an increase in positive test results.

In the first 14 days of the month, we’ve risen from a 7-day per 100k population rate of 30 to one of 165.

That’s a 550 per cent rise.

For comparison, at the height of the first lockdown last year, the rate was 85.6 per cent.

We are currently enjoying the freedom of protection level one, but this rise could see us move to a higher level, which would be devastating to local businesses and extremely harmful to the wellbeing of us all.

Helpfully, the vaccination programme continues at pace, and the rates of hospital admissions, and crucially ICU admissions, remains low.

If recent statements by the First Minister are any indication, going forward it is these figures and trends that will be most important in determining protection levels.

That said, we must all remember that there is still a significant number of people in our communities waiting on their first or second vaccine, and while this remains the case we must be careful how we interact with each other both at work and in public if we are to prevent our family, friends and neighbours from suffering the consequences of potential serious infection.

Again, I would urge everyone to Google ‘free Covid test Scotland’ and test yourself twice a week.

If you develop symptoms, your household must start isolating and you need to get yourself booked into a test centre for a test.

Finally, if you are contacted by NHS Contact Tracing you must follow the instructions you are given.

In more positive news, I was delighted that our bid for UK Government funding for Dumbarton town centre was approved unanimously at the infrastructure, regeneration and economic development committee last week.

For too long the Artizan Centre has been an eyesore, with empty units and a lot of grey concrete everywhere.

I don’t know about anyone else, but whenever I’m in the area I find it a really depressing place to be, and I certainly don’t see it as somewhere that attracts people into the town centre.

If we are successful and are able to get control of this site, we can get rid of the empty units and build something useful.

That could include more town centre parking, play areas for families and more public services among other things that will make Dumbarton town centre more accessible and attract more people to the shops and amenities on offer.

I look forward to hearing ideas through a public consultation in the not too distant future.