Horsham Rural City Council mayor Mark Radford has urged the Wimmera to be patient and respectful regarding new COVID-19 cases recorded in the region.
The first new case in several weeks was recorded on Thursday, after a Wimmera resident welcomed a visitor from Melbourne that later tested positive for COVID-19.
It has not known if the visitor was breaking any government restrictions, or if they were allowed to visit under the proviso of work, healthcare or caregiving purposes.
Cr Radford said some of the reaction he had seen - including comments on the Wimmera Mail-Times Facebook post announcing the new case - was disheartening.
"In the events of last week with the one case, I think we need to be a little bit less judgmental when it comes to people that do contract the virus," Cr Radford said.
"People have a right to express their opinions, but sometimes words can be like poisonous darts. It doesn't help the situation.
"I know it's hard. I know we all want to get out of this. But we need to work together and remain a respectful community."
Cr Radford said it was important nobody felt a stigma around getting tested for the virus.
"We want to make sure that people don't have second thoughts about getting tested," he said.
"We need to encourage people to get tested, to support them, and not to judge them if someone comes up positive."
Cr Radford said the newest positive case was also a reminder that Horsham "is not an island".
"There is risk for our community - we live on a national highway," he said.
"Yes there are restrictions in place, but there are people coming from Melbourne all the time.
"We do have an elevated risk from our regional neighbours.
"That's why it is important that we all need to be doing the right thing."
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