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It’s been an exciting time for many in Dumbarton as covid restrictions in West Dunbartonshire continue to ease thanks to the fantastic progress we’ve made locally in tackling the virus.

At the time of writing, covid case numbers here are some of the lowest in the country – with West Dunbartonshire recording just 9 cases per 100,000 people in the week up till 18th May, and a seven-day test positivity rate of just 0.3%.

It’s thanks to everyone’s efforts in keeping the virus supressed to such low levels that West Dunbartonshire has been able to move to Level 2 – meaning we can once again hug our closest friends and family and enjoy long-awaited catch-ups in homes, gardens and local pubs, cafes and restaurants.

However, if there’s one thing we’ve learned this past year it’s the danger of becoming complacent in the face of a deadly infectious virus like this one. The rise in case numbers in neighbouring areas like Glasgow and East Dunbartonshire gives us a stark reminder that the pandemic isn’t over yet.

Public health officials are keeping me updated on the impact of the new covid variant known as April-02, which is believed to be highly transmissible and driving a rise in infection rates in certain parts of the country.

It’s still too early to know whether this new variant may lead to a rise in hospitalisations the same way the Kent variant did during the winter. Whilst hopeful that the success of the vaccine programme gives us an extra layer of protection this time round, with many people still not fully vaccinated yet the need to act cautiously is clear.

NHS Scotland staff have been working tirelessly to deliver vaccines across West Dunbartonshire with high uptake levels across all age groups. Please come forward to get both doses of your vaccine when invited to do so – and if you think you should have had your jag by now but haven’t then you can call the NHS hotline on 0800 030 8013.

In order to break the chains of transmission, residents are also being encouraged to get tested regularly even if not experiencing any symptoms. Everyone is entitled to two free testing kits per week which can be ordered for home delivery via the NHS Inform website or picked up from local testing sites including those at Risk Street Car Park and Leven Valley Enterprise Centre.

We’ve made significant progress in West Dunbartonshire these past months. So let’s all keep playing our part to ensure we stay on the road to recovery – shop local and support our high streets, keep up-to-date with the latest public health guidance, get tested regularly and take up your vaccine when the time comes.

This article was written on 21st May 2021 for publication in the Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter.

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