The Weyburn General Hospital is only admitting patients infected with COVID-19, due to an outbreak at the facility.
The emergency room is still open, but inpatient wards are dedicated exclusively to COVID-19 patients, the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) said.
The SHA said the move comes amid rising case counts in Weyburn and an outbreak at the hospital, declared on Dec. 29.
Read more: COVID-19 outbreaks in Saskatchewan
“Non-COVID inpatient care needs will be met in hospitals in surrounding rural locations, namely Estevan, and arrangements will be made for patients at the time of admission,” the SHA said in a statement.
Outbreaks have also been declared at two care homes in the southern Saskatchewan city of roughly 11,000 people.
Weyburn Mayor Marcel Roy said residents are taking the risk of infection seriously.
“We’re seeing that people aren’t travelling outside the community as much,” Roy told Global News.
“They’re doing what they can so that we can get through this and return to a sense of normalcy as best as we possibly can.”
Weyburn dolled out its first shipment of vaccines last weekend, he said.
Visitation limitations at Rosthern hospital
The SHA is only allowing visitation for “compassionate care reasons” at the hospital in Rosthern, about 65 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.
The SHA said case counts are on the rise in the town of roughly 1,700 people. It has declared outbreaks at a local group home, two seniors’ homes and the hospital.
“The decision to restrict family presence is not taken lightly,” the SHA said in a news release. “These measures are in place to keep you, your loved ones, and health-care workers safe.”
Compassionate care reasons include end-of-life care, critical care, major surgery and labour and delivery.
“These limitations will remain in place until it is safe to return to the previous level of family presence,” the SHA said.
Visitors who qualify must undergo a health screening, including a temperature scan and a questionnaire.
“We 100 per cent endorse the restrictions even though they are challenging,” said Rosthern Mayor Dennis Helmuth.
“We want health and well-being for all of our citizens and for all of our neighbours.”
Helmuth described Rosthern as a catchment town, as several surrounding communities use its services.
“We delight at being a service centre,” he said. “But with that, it brings an extra level of challenge in terms of keeping everybody safe.”
A few hundred seniors from the region were vaccinated last weekend, he said.