It could take weeks before Winnipeg health officials know when surgeries in city hospitals will be back on track, after a flood at St. Boniface General Hospital cancelled dozens of operations.

Burst pipes sent water from the hospital's heating and ventilation system leaking into all 14 of its operating theatres on Wednesday morning.

St. Boniface hospital sign

Burst pipes sent water from St. Boniface General Hospital's heating and ventilation system leaking into all 14 of its operating theatres on Wednesday morning. All of the hospital's elective and emergency surgeries have been affected as a result. (CBC)

All elective surgeries at St. Boniface are cancelled for the time being, while emergency surgeries are being redirected to the Health Sciences Centre and Grace Hospital.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said 22 surgical procedures at St. Boniface were cancelled on Wednesday, while 37 have been cancelled on Thursday.

An additional 19 surgeries have been nixed at the Health Sciences Centre and the Grace, which are cancelling some of their elective surgeries to make room for patients from St. Boniface, according to the health authority.

Dr. Brock Wright, the WRHA's chief medical officer and senior vice-president of clinical services, said it could be weeks before officials know when the operating rooms at St. Boniface will be back on track.

For now, hospital officials are taking it day by day, Wright said.

"We obviously want to err on the side of caution so that we're always in a position to accommodate the patients needing urgent and emergent surgery. But we also don't want to overreact and end up cancelling more elective cases than we need to," he told reporters on Thursday.

Some patients disappointed

The cancellations at St. Boniface are affecting a number of people who have waited weeks or even months for surgeries.

Beverley Watson says her 73-year-old mother's knee replacement surgery, which was originally scheduled for Thursday, has been postponed.

Watson said her mother had been waiting nine months for the procedure and will now have to wait until March to have it done.

"I can hear it in her voice, the disappointment of not being able to get in. She's waited so long for this," she said.

On the bright side, Watson said her daughter-in-law gave birth at St. Boniface right before the flooding happened.

The WRHA's Wright said St. Boniface's emergency and obstetrics services are not affected by the shutdown.

Patients who have not been told their upcoming surgeries have been cancelled should wait for the time being, he said.

Hospitals from other regions with patients who need to be transferred to Winnipeg are being told to go elsewhere if possible, even out of province, officials said.