KITCHENER -- Waterloo Region's top doctor is asking people to be patient and kind amid a "growing number of negative or hostile responses" to public health staff.

In a statement, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang said staff have received the responses over the phone, through emails and in online comments.

"We acknowledge that people are angry and feeling frustrated. This has been a difficult and challenging time for everyone, including public health staff," her statement said in part. "We ask that you practice patience and kindness if you are contacted by public health or are engaging with public health online."

Dr. Wang acknowledged that many people may be feeling stressed or overwhelmed and encouraged people to reach out to mental health professionals and community supports like HERE 24/7 – 1-844-437-3247.

"Public Health works to protect the health of the community as a whole and these measures are most effective when the community works together," her statement said. "Together we can make a difference."

Region of Waterloo Public Health reported 57 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. The latest update brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases up to 3,139 to date, including 2,631 resolved cases and 123 deaths.