West Dunbartonshire is currently seeing worryingly elevated Covid infection rates.

Most of us have tried our hardest to be considerate at all times. We’ve worn our masks or visors to do our shopping, given people space to pass, stood back when speaking with others. We’ve tried not to touch our faces, and we’ve avoided travelling and socialising.

We’ve done this to protect the most vulnerable, as well as the staff putting themselves at risk to care for them.

The data shows that if everyone follows the rules, infection rates fall – enabling hospital staff to cope, and patients to get the best medical attention.

But it only takes a few infected people ignoring the rules to send infection rates up.

This means we now once again need to postpone indoor gatherings with friends and family not in a “bubble” arrangement.

We need to do this to avoid more cases of severe Covid-related illness, more people dying, and further steps towards lockdown.

If you or someone you know shows Covid symptoms, you can book a test by calling 119 or by going online to nhsinform.scot/test-and-protect.

Council leader Jonathan McColl has secured a mobile testing unit for our area which is now open at Dumbarton’s Meadow Centre. However, testing is by appointment only – you MUST arrange in advance to receive your test.

The pandemic lockdown has meant more people than usual presenting to the council as homeless this summer.

While these figures are concerning, I am grateful to council officers and staff for the hard work they have done in implementing our “More Than A Roof” homelessness strategy.

This has meant every single case has resulted in a person being housed, which means we have no people at all having to sleep rough in West Dunbartonshire.

The strategy doesn’t just give people a place to live - it gives them good quality temporary accommodation and access to advice and support so they can make informed choices about what long-term housing options are available to them.

Finally, it’s good news that the Dumbarton town centre improvement project has begun at Riverside Lane, and will be the gateway to the new walkway that will join the town centre to the castle.

As well as improving the area for pedestrians, it will create a play area for children.

Roll on the day we are able to go through this gateway and along the shore to the pride of our town, the Rock.