St. Boniface General Hospital has cancelled all its surgeries for the time being, after some of the facility's pipes froze and water flooded its operating rooms.

The pipes froze due to a malfunction in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system on Wednesday morning, officials with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority told reporters.

The HVAC system problem occurred at around 7 a.m., and water started leaking through the ceiling before noon.

St. Boniface Hospital

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Most of the hospital's 14 operating rooms are affected by water, and all were affected by heating-related issues.

No one was in the rooms at the time of the flooding, as staff had been made aware of the air exchange system problem.

As a result of the flooding, the WRHA all elective surgeries have been cancelled and all emergency cases will be diverted to other hospitals, mainly the Health Sciences Centre and Grace Hospital.

The health authority says elective surgeries at the other hospitals will be cancelled to free up space for emergency surgeries that would normally go to St. Boniface.

"Patient safety is our first priority and making sure that the surgical patients that require urgent or emergent surgery are cared for," said Dr. Brock Wright, the WRHA's chief medical officer and senior vice-president of clinical services.

The situation is expected to last several days, and hospital officials could not confirm how many surgeries will be affected in total. About 30 operations had been planned at St. Boniface for Wednesday alone.

Officials said staff will work with affected patients to get surgeries back on schedule.

About 10,000 surgeries are performed annually at St. Boniface, which is a major site for heart surgery.