The emergency department at Soldiers Memorial Hospital in Middleton, N.S., will be closed for the next two weeks and regional hospitals in Kentville and Bridgewater will transition to only urgent and emergency surgical services starting today.
The changes will remain in place for the next two weeks as venues grapple with the continued strain caused by COVID-19.
“West Zone facilities are significantly overcapacity with increased inpatient COVID demand coupled with staffing shortages,” read a statement from Nova Scotia Health.
“In order to support the West Zone’s COVID response, trained staff from the Soldiers Memorial Hospital Emergency Department will be temporarily reassigned to the Valley Regional Hospital Emergency Department. We recognize the concerns this change may cause, however, our priority must be to maintain our regional emergency department.”
COVID rates remain high
Nova Scotia continues to experience high rates of COVID-19 across the province.
The latest epidemiological information released Thursday shows the province is averaging nearly two deaths per day and more than 1,000 positive PCR tests. Public health information does not include data on rapid antigen tests, which some experts say could significantly increase the number of daily cases. The province’s deputy chief medical officer of health said Thursday that the numbers may stabilize.
A health authority spokesperson said in an email that surgical services across the province are tightly managed, with capacity expanded or reduced based on demand and staff redeployed to areas most in need.
“We recognize that this is incredibly frustrating and difficult for our patients and for our staff and surgical program physicians who have seen their services repeatedly affected throughout the pandemic,” Brendan Elliott wrote.
“However, surgical reductions are necessary to ensure sufficient inpatient bed capacity related to our response to COVID-19. Maintaining emergency services at our regional sites is a top priority and those in need of emergency care should not hesitate to visit, although waits can be long.
Earlier this week, health authority officials said acute care bed capacity was at 106%. Elective and elective surgeries in the Halifax area were mostly canceled earlier this month as area hospitals grapple with the effects of COVID-19.