The emergency department of the Perth hospital will be closed for several days due to a staffing shortage related to a COVID-19 outbreak.
“In spite of our best efforts to preserve care in the Perth Emergency Department, COVID-19 has placed yet another burden on our fragile staffing situation. Today we learned of a COVID-19 outbreak impacting our Emergency Department Staff,” the hospital said in a statement. “This left the PSFDH team with no other option but to close the Perth Emergency Department effective Saturday, July 2 at 7 a.m.”
The Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital (PSFDH) is an acute care health care hospital located on two sites in Perth and Smiths Falls and serves over 60,000 residents in surrounding communities, including municipalities within the Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston riding.
“Frontline nursing staff have been and continue to work extremely hard throughout the course of the pandemic, and they are tired and not immune to COVID-19 illness,” said Nancy Shaw, Vice President, Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive. “We thank them for their incredible ongoing efforts through the waves of the pandemic to date and also for their caring and commitment to our communities.”
According to the hospital, all remaining available staff from the Perth Emergency Department will move to the Smiths Falls Site Emergency Department to support the anticipated increase in patients.
The announcement comes six days after the hospital warned of staff shortages, increased demand and longer wait times due to COVID-19.
“The PSFDH team had a plan in place to continue services to the community but due to the terrible pandemic, PSFDH is no longer able to safely operate our Perth Emergency Department,” said Michael Cohen, the hospital’s President & CEO. “This decision is the result of the unprecedented times and not a decision that has been taken lightly. Patient care and staff and physician safety remain the top priorities.”
“Residents in our catchment area can continue to access emergency care at the Smiths Falls Site located at 60 Cornelia Street West, Smiths Falls or the closest alternate emergency department,” the hospital said.
The emergency department closure will remain in effect until Thursday, July 7, 2022, the hospital said. “As our staffing situation stabilizes, we will gradually reopen the Perth Emergency Department. Upon reopening, the Perth Emergency Department will open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.”
The hospital said it has informed its regional partners such as ambulance services, partner hospitals in surrounding areas as well as the local public health unit.
The Emergency Department closure and subsequent reduction in hours impacts only the Perth Emergency Department, the hospital said, and the Smiths Falls emergency department will continue to be open 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
“The Board of Directors stands by the decision of the PSFDH team as patient, staff and physician safety should never be compromised,” said Gardner Church, Chair of the PSFDH Board of Directors. “We have a commitment to provide safe, high-quality care to our community and to also provide a safe work environment for our staff and physicians.”