Hospital officials said Friday damage from burst pipes St. Boniface Hospital is significant, but they are optimistic the facility's 14 operating rooms shut down since Wednesday will be up and running within one to two weeks.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said 130 elective surgeries have been delayed so far, in addition to 20 cardiac procedures.

Officials said all 14 operating rooms will need to be cleaned, and all equipment tested and inspected.

Stephen Cumpsty, St. Boniface's director of capital planning and property management, said the cause of the problem was an air handling system malfunction.

He said the hot water system cooled down and water in the coils froze. That caused the coils to burst.

The WRHA's Dr. Brock Wright said officials are keeping an eye on critical care levels at both the Health Sciences Centre and the Grace, where some patients are being diverted.

He said approximately 30 to 50 surgeries are normally performed at St. Boniface every day, but officials are still assessing the situation on a day-by-day basis before making cancellations.

Nurses being re-deployed as surgeries move

Nurses from St. Boniface Hospital's cardiac unit are following patients to the Health Sciences Centre as surgeries are being re-scheduled.

Sandi Mowat, head of the Manitoba Nurses Union, said Friday it's the same thing nurses did when they were re-deployed to other hospitals during the 1997 flood.

"Obviously they are dedicated to making sure that these patients are getting the emergency surgery they need," she said. "It is a bit of headache to have to go to Health Sciences Centre instead of St. Boniface, [but it's] certainly not something that is a terrible tragedy or anything like that."

Mowat said until the operating rooms are back to normal, other nurses may be also be re-assigned to HSC as surgeries are rescheduled.

"They may have to increase surgery at [HSC's] Women's Hospital," she said "And they may not have the staff capacity there. So everything has to be balanced."