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The Moncton Hospital is shown in Moncton, New Brunswick, on Jan. 14.Ron Ward/The Canadian Press

A health authority in New Brunswick is asking people with non-life-threatening medical needs to stay away from its hospitals this weekend due to a “critical” shortage of nurses.

Horizon Health Network says in a news release that emergency services at the Moncton Hospital and Saint John Regional Hospital will be cut back until Sunday.

It says the facilities must reserve their resources to provide services for those with “limb- or life-threatening medical needs.”

Health Minister Bruce Fitch told a news conference that the nurse shortage is due to issues that include sick leave, vacations and transfers.

He says that emergency rooms will remain open for those who need them.

Fitch says he understands the situation can be intimidating and suggests people should explore other options such as calling 811 or visiting their local pharmacy if they need immediate medical help.

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