Fort Saskatchewan hospital suspends services for pregnant women due to COVID-19 impact on staffing

A hospital northeast of Edmonton is temporarily suspending its labour and delivery services for pregnant women because of staffing shortages resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a news release issued Friday, Alberta Health Services said suspension of the services delivered through the Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital’s Women’s Health Program would be brought into effect immediately. The health authority did not say when the services would be offered again.

“The Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital has seen increased numbers of health-care workers on sick days as a result of COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms,” AHS spokesperson James Wood wrote in an email to Global News.

“We know this is difficult for patients and families, but the safety of patients must be our top priority.”

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Pregnant patients who had planned to deliver at the Fort Saskatchewan hospital are asked to speak with their midwife or physician to make arrangements to deliver their child at the Sturgeon Community Hospital in St. Albert, about 30 kilometres away.

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AHS noted the Fort Saskatchewan hospital’s emergency department remains open and patients requiring immediate medical assistance should continue to call 911. For health information and advice, people can continue to call 811.

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On the Alberta government’s website, the most recent estimated figures related to the COVID-19 pandemic show the province’s positivity rate for the illness was at 30 per cent on Thursday. In total, there were 371 people being treated in Alberta hospitals for COVID-19, 48 of those were being treated in intensive-care units.

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The province has seen a massive surge in COVID-19 cases in recent days, in large part because of the new Omicron variant.

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