Mayor Col Murray blasted coronavirus complacency in Tamworth today, saying locals were putting themselves and others at risk of contracting the deadly COVID-19 if they didn't heed the call to self-isolate.
The Tamworth mayor said it was a "genuine concern" that he often saw people in Tamworth still gathered at coffee shops and walking the streets in the town.
"The virus is here; we need to take action now, this minute," Cr Murray said.
He called on all residents to take "personal responsibility" for stemming the tide of new cases by adopting social distancing measures like washing their hands and staying home.
"We must take our own destiny into our own hands.
"If we don't take the opportunity to control this virus it will control us."
Standing a metre-and-a-half away from Cr Murray, Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson echoed the call to get serious about the virus.
"Regional NSW is not immune from COVID-19," he said.
"We have seen cases in Tamworth and we know there are a number of people in isolation in our region now. We do need to get serious in the way we conduct our daily business."
Mr Anderson told the Leader Health authorities could make enforceable Public Health Orders for individuals to stay home. Locals who see breach of the order should refer it to the police, he said.
Council officer Murray Russell, who helms the local emergency operations process, said hospitals have worked hard to prepare for the pandemic, but cannot do the job alone.
"The hospital will not cope if we allow this to escalate very quickly. No matter how well-prepared our hospitals are they will not cope," he said.