Elective surgeries at Aberdeen Hospital were cancelled on Monday due to excess humidity in the building.

The Aberdeen Hospital's four operating rooms were closed Monday after excessive humidity was found in the surgical services area. 

Hospital officials worried the high humidity would increase the likelihood of bacterial contamination, resulting in an unacceptable risk.

Ten non-urgent surgeries were cancelled. The Pictou County Health Authority contacted all patients to inform them of the cancellations. 

Should there be a patient requiring emergency surgery, the hospital was able to prepare one operating room for emergency procedures, such as cesarean sections, if necessary.

"Our immediate concern is patient safety. We need to be confident that the surgical equipment and supplies have not been contaminated by this situation," said Duane MacInnis, vice president of Health Services with the Pictou County Health Authority.

The health authority is investigating the cause of the humidity problem. In the meantime, all surgical equipment is being resterilized and the area is being thoroughly cleaned and sterilized. 

Twenty elective surgeries are booked for Tuesday. If a decision is made to cancel those, hospital staff will contact the patients to book another date. As the operating rooms reopen, priority will be given to emergency or urgent cases, the health authority said.

"We don't take the decision to cancel elective surgery lightly but patient safety is first and foremost. We realize that in doing so we have disappointed and inconvenienced our patients," said MacInnis.

"Our goal is to ensure the cancelled cases are given priority when rebooking."

Other health authorities in the province have been contacted and are available to provide supplies and support if needed.