The emergency department at the Perth hospital will be closed for five days due to a staffing shortage.

The Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital says the emergency department will be closed from 7 a.m. on Saturday until Thursday, July 7 following a COVID-19 outbreak impacting staff in the department.

"In spite of our best efforts to preserve care in the Perth Emergency Department, COVID-19 has placed yet another burden on our fragile staffing situation," the hospital said in a statement.

"Today we learned of a COVID-19 outbreak impacting our Emergency Department Staff. This left the PSFDH team with no other option but to close the Perth Emergency Department effective Saturday, July 2 at 7 a.m."

Available staff from the emergency department at the Perth Hospital will be transferred to the Smiths Falls hospital emergency department to support the anticipated increase in patients.

"The PSFDH team had a plan in place to continue services to the community but due to the terrible pandemic, PSFDH is no longer able to safely operate our Perth Emergency Department," said Michael Cohen, president and CEO of the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital. "This decision is the result of the unprecedented times and not a decision that has been taken lightly. Patient care and staff and physician safety remain the top priorities."

The emergency department will remain closed until July 7. The hospital says as the "staffing situation stabilizes", the emergency department in Perth will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The announcement of the closure of the emergency department at the Perth hospital comes one day after the hospital insisted nightly closures would not happen. News circulated on Tuesday that the emergency department at the Perth hospital would be closed from July to September between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.

On Wednesday, the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital announced the hospital decided there would be "no closure of departments/services at this time."