Premier Ed Stelmach is urging people to have faith in the care being offered at the beleaguered St. Joseph's hospital in Vegreville, Alta.,saying that he'd have nohesitation about showing up at the emergency room.

People inVegreville are still reelingafter a sterilization scare and superbug outbreakin the small 25-bed hospital in their town east of Edmonton.

Inhis first visit to the town in his riding since the problems at the hospital were revealed last month, Stelmachmet with local councillors Wednesday.

He urged the community to trust the care offered at the hospital.

"If something happened to me and I was in Veg …I'd go there immediately. I'd be there."

Stelmachsaid St. Joseph's will soonbe a better hospital than it was before.

"We're going to work with the community, with the mayor, to re-establish the confidence. And this facility is going to grow because there will be the protocol put in place that will not only deal with the situation here, but also in other hospitals in the province."

The province took over control of the facility last monthafter the medical officer of health for East Central Health shut down the sterilization room and closed the hospital to acute care admissions, citing an outbreak of MRSA and problems sterilizing hospital equipment.

The Health Quality Council of Alberta is investigating what went wrong.

Meanwhile, the hospital's emergency room remains open.

Community reaction mixed

On the streets of Vegreville, the situation at the local hospital is still on everyone's mind.

Murray Gregg said he has faith in the medical staff, but he'd go somewhere else for help if he could.

"If I cut my hand I'd probably just wrap it up and drive to Sherwood Park or Fort Saskatchewan."

But longtime resident Ed Goselwitz saidhe wouldn't hesitate about going to St. Joseph's.

"I have confidence in the staff there. They're part of this community and we have to support them in the difficult times that they're going through. I would have no qualms about going back to St. Joe's whatsoever."