Kemptville hospital ER closing nightly through Labour Day

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A sign told visitors to the Kemptville District Hospital on Oct. 21, 2021, that its emergency department was temporarily closed. On that occasion, a 'cybersecurity incident' was blamed. (Francis Ferland/CBC - image credit)
A sign told visitors to the Kemptville District Hospital on Oct. 21, 2021, that its emergency department was temporarily closed. On that occasion, a 'cybersecurity incident' was blamed. (Francis Ferland/CBC - image credit)

A hospital just south of Ottawa is closing its emergency room for 12 hours a day until Tuesday, and is asking people to go to other hospitals 27 to 55 kilometres away.

The Kemptville District Hospital said in a news release Wednesday that its emergency room will close from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every night until Monday.

The plan is to have it open again 24 hours a day starting Tuesday at 7 a.m.

People calling 911 will be taken to the closest available emergency room, the news release said. For people taking themselves to hospital, nearby hospitals include facilities in Brockville, Smiths Falls and Winchester, or Ottawa's Queensway Carleton Hospital.

"Like hospitals across the country, KDH is experiencing a sustained, system-wide pressure on our emergency department staffing levels due to COVID-related absences, vacations, staff fatigue and burnout," CEO Frank Vassallo said in the statement.

"I would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to our frontline nursing and support staff … Thanks to their commitment to the patients we serve, we have been able to keep our emergency department open 24/7 up to this point."

The news release also said the hospital is actively working to recruit staff.

There have been emergency room closures elsewhere in Canada and Ontario this summer, for the same kinds of reasons Vassallo gave.

The province has said it is hoping to ease health-care pressures by increasing publicly covered surgeries at private clinics, waiving exam and registration fees for internationally trained nurses, and sending patients waiting for long-term care beds to homes not of their choosing.