The Rocky Mountain House Health Centre was unable to provide obstetrical services over the weekend.
“Obstetrical patients due during this time are being contacted directly by their physician or midwife and will be referred to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre to support in-hospital births. This includes patients who wish to deliver by a scheduled C-section,” Alberta Health Services said in a news release Friday.
“This is not a decision that Alberta Health Services takes lightly; it is a necessary one made in the best interest and safety of our patients and staff in response to staff illnesses which are impacting staffing levels.”
AHS said prenatal patients in Rocky Mountain House were able to receive antenatal care from their local care team, prior to being referred for their delivery. Patients and their newborns continued to receive care from their local provider following delivery and discharge from hospital.
“This is a temporary measure only. Alberta Health Services is working hard to ensure local residents continue to have access to the care they need during this time, and to keep all other services at the site operating as normal,” said AHS.
Inpatient units were not impacted by this weekend closure.
”Those who are pregnant and infected with COVID-19 are at a higher risk of getting very sick, being admitted to hospital, and developing complications that need intensive care.”
People who are pregnant can get the COVID-19 vaccine at any time during pregnancy, AHS said, adding vaccines are safe and effective.
“They lower your chance of becoming very sick from COVID-19 and spreading the virus to others, including your baby. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe for pregnant individuals and their babies. AHS is strongly urging those who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or have recently delivered, to get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.”
Alberta’s NDP said the “UCP crisis in hospital staffing” forced the temporary closure of obstetrics in Rocky Mountain House closure, in addition to the emergency rooms is Fairview and Cold Lake.
The latest wave of ER and obstetrics closures follows closures in Swan River and Wabasca, the NDP added.
“This crisis in hospital staffing is the result of the UCP’s war on healthcare professionals and the UCP botched response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” David Shepherd, NDP Critic for Health.
“I am extremely concerned that we will see more closures as the pressure on our hospitals increases. Jason Copping and the UCP continue to hide the AHS two-week forecast on the demand for hospital and ICU beds.”