Interior Health has announced that Merritt’s emergency room will once again be temporarily closed, for the second time in the span of one week. The diversion will see the ER close for 24 hours from Feb. 21 at 8 a.m. to Feb. 22 at 8 a.m., due to limited nursing availability.

While inpatient services will continue at the hospital during this time, emergency services will be unavailable, and the health authority says patients can access care at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital. They added that those in need of life-threatening emergency care, such as chest pains, difficulty breathing, and severe bleeding, should always call 9-1-1 for transport to the nearest available facility. Those unsure whether or not a trip to the ER is warranted should call 8-1-1 to speak with HealthLinkBC for non-emergency health information.

Interior Health officials recently spoke with the Herald, where they detailed local recruitment efforts, and the process in place before a diversion is called. Merritt Mayor Mike Goetz has previously called on the provincial government to end its vaccination mandate for healthcare workers immediately as part of efforts to address issues in rural healthcare.