SAULT STE. MARIE -- The mayor of Sault Ste. Marie is asking residents to stop shaming COVID-19 patients.

Mayor Christian Provenzano says the warning comes after several negative comments were made online against the patients and Algoma Public Health.

"Algoma Public Health is doing an excellent job," Provenzano said. "We're early in this process, we have to stay committed and we have to continue to follow the health unit's advice."

Several social media posts allegedly disclosed the address of one of the four patients over the weekend, along with several negative comments for the individual.

But the mayor says it needs to stop and is calling for more respect.

"We know these are troubling times for everyone, especially from an economic standpoint," he said. "It's easy to be nice when things are going well, but it's important to do those things when they aren't."

Algoma Public Health says it expects more positive cases in the coming weeks, with over 100 tests still pending in the region.

"I completely understand people's frustration and anxiousness," said Dr. Jennifer Loo, Associate Medical Officer of Health. "But it's important to remember that ultimately, our goal is to protect health and stigma's that exist make it challenging."

Some of the feedback Dr. Loo's heard from the community, is people wanting to know the location of those who've tested positive.

"We have 21 communities, some very small," she said. "Personal health information really needs to be confidential, to protect the privacy of these patients."

With more cases expected, Mayor Provenzano says the Sault Area Hospital is planning ahead.

"These are just precautionary right now, so that we can handle the worst case scenario, if it were to happen," he said.

Despite the setback, the mayor says he's seen plenty of good from the community so far, with several groups volunteering to deliver food, medicine and supplies.

"I know this community can do good, I know it can do better and very proud of it," he added.