MONTREAL -- Hospital administrators are asking the population not to head to the ER at Lakeshore General Hospital in Montreal's West Island for the next few days, as the ward is over-capacity.

Health and social services West Island (CIUSSS-ODIM) said in a news release Sunday that the hospital is currently operating at a 132 per cent stretcher occupancy rate, and the emergency room is full.

“The current situation at Lakeshore is worrying and requires action of last resort," said CIUSSS-ODIM president and CEO Lynne McVey. 

The news release come as the hospital's nurses union work to have a new collective barganing agreement signed by Chrstmas.

Nurses have complained throughout the pandemic about sub par working condition including overwork, staff being moved from ward to ward creating vacancies, and other issues. Nurses have held multiple sit-ins to draw attention to the issues throughout the summer.

The union says there are multiple vacant health-care jobs, but that they're not being filled, as health-care professionals opt for jobs in the private sector where they're paid more and working conditions are better.

Saturday, for example, the union noted that the emergency room was short between four and seven nurses per shift.

Nurses through their administrators asked the ministry of health to shut the ER down for three days. The request was denied, so the CIUSSS is asking the public to voluntarily avoid the hospital.

The hospital is designated to receive positive COVID-19 cases and outbreaks in some units have made patient flow difficult in addition to the staff shortages, the CIUSSS says.

The CIUSSS says the outbreaks are under control but those with minor issues should visit a walk-in clinic, their family doctor or call Info-Sante at 811.