A critical Horizon Health Network staff shortage is resulting in reduced capacity for all Horizon emergency departments on Saturday and Sunday.
In a press release Friday, Horizon said it is asking the public to consider other health care options before deciding to go to the emergency room.
"Emergency Departments are always available for emergencies, and if you are experiencing a medical emergency, please visit your nearest Emergency Department or call 911," said the release.
It said patients with critical needs will be prioritized. If people are unsure if their medical need is urgent, Horizon asks that they call Tele-Care 811 to assess the type of medical attention they should seek.
The Miramichi Regional Hospital emergency department will be at reduced capacity for a longer period of time, from Friday afternoon until Tuesday due to "an unexpected shortage of available staff."
These staff shortages and reductions of services are part of a pattern of shortages, closures and reductions at hospitals across the province.
Horizon outlined a list of urgent versus non-urgent medical needs in its release.
The health network said someone should go to emergency room for any of the following:
Discomfort or tightness in the chest.
Signs of stroke.
Unusual shortness of breath.
Prolonged and persistent headache or dizziness.
An injury that may require stitches or involve a broken bone.
A child with prolonged diarrhea or vomiting.
A baby under six months with a fever of 38°C (100.4°F) or higher,
Some examples of non-emergencies according to the release are sore throat, possible bladder infection, rashes, lower back pain and flu symptoms. Horizon said these needs can be addressed using Tele-Care 811, an after-hours clinic, a pharmacy consultation or a virtual eVisitNB appointment.