EDMONTON -- Two Alberta hospital emergency departments have been closed in recent days due to a shortage of physicians.

The Fairview Health Complex in northern Alberta's Peace region had no physicians in its emergency department overnight Tuesday. Nursing staff remained on site to offer triage and assessment, or refer patients to emergency departments in nearby communities. 

The next day, the Rocky Mountain House Health Centre emergency department was closed for 16 hours over Wednesday night. It was closed at 3 p.m. Wednesday to allow staff to treat and discharge all remaining patients, AHS said.

New patients were not to be admitted during the 16-hour closure.

AHS said resources are limited in central Alberta and a number of doctors are impacted by COVID-19 or isolating due to close contact. It has "exhausted all efforts to find physician coverage during this time," including putting out a call province-wide for doctors, according to a statement.

Rocky Mountain House EMS calls were to be rerouted to surrounding communities including Sylvan Lake, Rimbey, Sundre and Red Deer. AHS says additional EMS supports will be made available during the temporary closure to transport patients.

Inpatient units are not impacted and on-call coverage for pregnant patients will be available for those in active labour.

The emergency department was due to reopen on Thursday at 7 a.m.