Rocky Mountain House Health Centre's emergency department will be closed for a 16-hour period due to a shortage of available doctors.
Alberta Health Services said in a release the emergency department closed at 3 p.m Wednesday to allow physicians and staff to treat and discharge remaining patients. The department is set to reopen at 7 a.m. Thursday.
"This is a temporary situation, due to COVID-19 impacting the availability of physicians across the zone who are able to provide locum coverage," states the AHS release.
"Central Alberta has a number of physicians who are impacted by COVID-19 or in isolation due to being a close contact, limiting available resources."
Inpatients will not be affected by the closure and on-call coverage will still be provided for obstetrical patients.
"AHS exhausted all efforts to find physician coverage during this time, locally, within Central Zone, and provincially, but have not been able to find physicians to cover the ED during this time," AHS said in the release.
Anyone needing urgent emergency medical care in the area is asked to call 911.
Emergency calls will be rerouted to other central Alberta health care facilities, including those in Sylvan Lake, Rimbey, Sundre and Red Deer.
Other Alberta hospitals are having similar physician coverage issues; Fairview Health Complex emergency department was closed for a 12-hour period that ended Wednesday morning and the Elk Point Healthcare Centre emergency will close for 24 hours, starting Thursday morning at 8 a.m.