Hospitals in Hardisty and Consort closing emergency departments during COVID-19 pandemic

The Hardisty Health Centre in Hardisty, Alta. Alberta Health Services

Two small town hospitals in east-central Alberta are temporarily closing their emergency departments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Friday, the emergency rooms at both the Consort Hospital and Care Centre and the Hardisty Health Centre — both located in towns between Red Deer and the Saskatchewan border — have been closed.

Alberta Health Services said the moves were made as the health authority proactively plans for the anticipated surge in demand for acute care and emergency department spaces due to COVID-19.

READ MORE: Alberta Health South zone COVID-19 demographics broken down

AHS said patients arriving at the ERs in Hardisty and Consort will be redirected to other care options and EMS is prepared to transport patients to other nearby facilities if required.

Story continues below advertisement

AHS said emergency services are available at these nearby facilities:

  • Wainwright Health Centre (60 km. north of Hardisty)
  • Viking Health Centre (60 km. northwest from Hardisty)
  • Daysland Health Centre (73 km. west from Hardisty)
  • Coronation Hospital and Care Centre (75 km. south of Hardisty and 50 km. west of Consort)
  • Provost Health Centre (81 km. north of Consort and 85 km. east of Hardisty)

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

The Primary Care Clinic at the Hardisty hospital will continue to operate as usual throughout the week, AHS said.

READ MORE: Fort Saskatchewan Hospital suspends labour, delivery services due to COVID-19 pandemic

AHS said admission to the community support beds at the Consort Hospital and Care Centre and admission to acute care beds at the Hardisty hospital will be temporarily paused.

The five beds at each facility will temporarily be converted for other services, including supporting patients waiting for continuing care placement who do not require immediate access to a physician. Any patients requiring acute care at a hospital will be accommodated at other nearby facilities, AHS said.

The temporary closure will not impact long-term care residents at either the Hardisty or Consort hospital, and other services like diagnostic imaging and laboratory services will also remain open at both facilities.

All patients with potentially life-threatening conditions should immediately phone 911, AHS said, adding those not requiring emergency care will be directed to contact a physician’s clinic to book an appointment.

Story continues below advertisement

No job losses will occur at the either hospital as a result of these changes and services will resume in both Consort and Hardisty when the pandemic ends, according to AHS.

The same move was also made at the Devon General Hospital in the Edmonton area, effective Monday morning. That decision was made to protect the health of 14 long-term care residents who are at heightened risk if exposed to COVID-19.

READ MORE: Devon General Hospital to stop accepting emergency patients amid COVID-19

As of Thursday, Alberta has 2,158 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 50 people have died of the novel coronavirus. The majority of the deaths have been seniors, include 32 residents in care centres.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu.

Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

Story continues below advertisement

— With files from The Canadian Press

Sponsored content