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Leaking roof affects hospital services

Posted on April 30, 2014 by Maple Creek

Leaks in the roof of the Maple Creek Hospital have created a challenging situation for providing health care.

With the rain last week, the hospital’s roof began leaking in multiple areas.

About 13-15 leaks sprung up around the facility last Thursday, causing Cypress Health Region to close certain areas and services for the weekend. Water was leaking into two patient rooms, the lab, the observation room, the old OR suite, offices and hallways.

Inpatient admissions and X-ray services were not available, and limited lab services were available over the weekend. The health region reported the emergency room was available for “true emergencies only.”

The public was asked to use the south entrance to the building over the weekend due to a large leak at the front entrance. The area affected has since been closed off and the front entry opened again.

X-ray services are still unavailable, and lab services remain limited while the issue is being resolved. No equipment was damaged by water. The Primary Health Care Clinic is still available for those with appointments.

“Structurally the building is sound, it’s just roofing material,” explained Trent Regier, director of rural health.

While the roof of the 51-year-old building has leaked from time to time, Regier said it’s only recently that the problem worsened.

A private contractor was brought in who is trained in water removal, asbestos removal and mould remediation. Dehumidifiers and fans are being used to dry out areas, and samples have been sent to a lab as a precaution to determine if mould is present.

“Once we have an assessment of all the areas, then we’ll be able to figure out what parts of the building can come open,” Regier said.

“We haven’t seen any mould in the ceiling cavities at all… but we did some air quality testing to ensure that our patients and staff are not put at risk,” said Jeff Schwan, director of occupational and public health. “We’re just waiting for the results to come back… but chances are that air quality test is going to come back negative.”

Other testing was done as some of the ceiling tiles contain asbestos. The results showed there was no asbestos in the air.

A roofing company was on site yesterday to assess the problem. Regier is hopeful the situation can be resolved quickly and easily.

“They have a fairly good idea of where the water has been penetrating, so they’re scraping back the gravel to the areas that we think need to be repaired and will then start the repairs on that,” he said. “Once they have that done, there’s just a couple other places that we have some concerns… on areas that we think will split fairly quickly.”

With the new integrated healthcare facility only a few months away from completion, Regier said it is unfortunate to be experiencing these problems now.

“We need to balance staff and patient safety, we need to balance cost and we need to balance what we do in the facility for five months when the community needs health care,” he said.

Regier estimates the hospital services will start to get back to normal within the next week to 10 days.

Due to the absence of three physicians on educational and personal leave, Maple Creek only has one doctor available. The emergency room was closed and the hospital put on diversion on Tuesday and will be again this evening from 5 p.m. – 8 a.m. tomorrow.

The health region will continue to provide updates on the availability of services.

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