The hospital’s chair says the facility’s nurses and doctors are being redeployed to other emergency departments in the region.
“Temporarily closing the Fort Erie Urgent Care Centre was a decision that was not taken lightly,” Niagara Health chair Bunny Alexander said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The board of directors and senior leadership agreed that we need to take this step to address staffing shortages and maintain essential services for the high volumes of patients in our community needing emergency care.”
Health officials say the move is part of a “larger plan” to temporarily prioritize care due to the “escalating impact” of the Omicron variant.
The network is suggesting residents needing care reach out to family doctors or access the urgent care centre in Port Colborne, Ont., or the nearest emergency.
1/3 Due to the critical shortages of staff and escalating patient volumes related to the pandemic, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily close the Urgent Care Centre at the Fort Erie Site effective Thursday, Jan. 6, 11 p.m., and will redeploy our highly-trained staff pic.twitter.com/Mg6gtlqA8O
— NiagaraHealth (@niagarahealth) January 4, 2022
“This wave of the pandemic is beyond anything we have experienced. We have exhausted all options, and the temporary closure of the Urgent Care Centre is a measure of last resort,” president and CEO Lynn Guerriero said in a release.
On Tuesday, Niagara Health reported it’s caring for 104 patients who are positive with COVID-19 and managing five outbreaks at its Niagara Falls and St. Catharines sites.
The extended care unit at the Welland Site is also in outbreak and following long-term care guidelines.
There are currently 354 staff members in self-isolation.
Since Dec. 21, 146 Niagara Health workers have tested positive for COVID-19.
The closure in Fort Erie will happen at 11 p.m. on Jan 6.
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