WINNIPEG -- It appears elective surgeries are set to be postponed in Winnipeg because of increasing COVID-19 case numbers.

An internal memo from Grace Hospital, obtained by CTV Winnipeg, tells staff the provincial leadership team has ordered an “expedited reduction” in surgical slates at the hospital as of Friday.

“Understandably, there will be very upset, scared patients who have been cancelled and moved many times over the last few months,” the memo reads.

It goes on to say the most urgent surgeries will be prioritized over the next four weeks.

An internal e-mail dated Thursday, also obtained by CTV Winnipeg, shows staff members at Health Sciences Centre are preparing for a “worst-case scenario at present.”

It says nurses may be needed for the ICU and surgical wards may have to be converted to COVID-19 wards.

“Bottom line is that if numbers continue to rise and hospital admissions rise, surgical activity will have to slow down around the region,” the e-mail states.

As of Thursday, 185 people are in hospital in Manitoba with COVID-19, 52 of those are in Intensive care.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Shared Health said they have been seeing increased hospitalizations and ICU admissions in the province, especially among younger people.

“Increasing capacity across acute care sites to care for patients has resulted in the temporary postponement of some non-urgent, elective surgeries,” the spokesperson said. “However, it’s important to note that all urgent and life-threatening surgeries remain prioritized and Manitobans experiencing medical emergencies will continue to receive high-quality care when they need it.”

The province will give an update on the plans on Friday, the spokesperson said.