Grand River Hospital has cancelled some surgeries scheduled due to a staffing shortage.

Director of the surgical program Robinne Hauck says the staffing shortage is due to an outbreak on the surgical unit, “Unfortunately, we’ve had an outbreak of gastroenteritis amongst our staff that work on the inpatient surgical unit and because of that we have a shortage of nurses based on patients needing care after their surgery.”

The hospital is cancelling procedures on a day-to-day basis because Hauck says they can’t be certain when they’ll be back to full staff, “Staff cannot return to work unless they’ve been 48 hour symptom free. So we’re looking everyday to make sure the staff are able to come back, and as they come back, we’ll be able to continue to surgical program as usual.”

GRH has taken several steps to keep the illness from spreading, including isolating patients with symptoms, aggressive cleaning in the units where the nurses are working, encouraging nurses not to be coming to work if they have any symptoms and making sure hand hygiene is at its best.

Hauck adds the cancelled procedures are ones that require post surgical care, “So we’re continuing with the day surgical cases because those patients don’t require inpatient beds. Obviously the emergency cases we will do and we’re putting those patients in a different unit so that we can continue working on the emergency and urgent cases that need to be done.”

Over the last two days, about 13 surgeries have been cancelled and 7 more have been cancelled for Thursday.