The village of Gouverneur is without a hospital until further notice.
This after the State Department of Health closed EJ Noble's lab, effectively shutting the entire hospital down. Only the nursing home and radiology and physical therapy departments remain open.
All eighteen of the hospital's in-patients were transferred to other hospitals in the region Saturday, and no new patients are being accepted.
The reason for the lab's closure: "Serious and persistent issues that are a threat to patient safety and health," according to Department of Health Public Affairs Director Bill Schwarz.
Although Schwarz wouldn't go into specifics, he says the Department of Health had identified a number of problems back in August, and was working with the hospital to correct them, when, recently, two additional errors of a "different level of potential harm" were made.
"When it reaches the point where it poses imminent threat to patient safety and health, and/or including the staff that would work in the lab, that's when the steps that we took recently were absolutely required," Schwarz said.
"We have some serious and definite work that we have to do to correct proficiency issues and other issues, like inventory control, within the lab," said EJ Noble CEO Chuck Conole.
A Department of Health team is on site, and staff and board meetings were held throughout the day Saturday to try to come up with a plan to meet the state's demands. 7 News was told those meetings were likely to continue to continue through the night.
The news of the closure, and the sign on the hospital's doors that reads "Until further notice, this facility is closed", has stunned the the Gouverneur community, and left it wondering about the hospital's future.
"It is certainly an alarming situation, a troubling situation," said Ron McDougall, Interim Gouverneur Mayor.
With the lab shutdown, the jobs of the 240 people who work at the hospital are in now limbo.
"I was there when the so-called midnight shift come in last night and it was quite troubling, to put it that way," McDougall said.
"It appears that certainly that if we're not providing acute health care for folks of our community, there isn't any work for those folks that are in those particular departments," said Tim Monroe, EJ Noble Hospital Board Chair.
Despite the circumstances, Gouverneur's interim mayor, Ron McDougall, remains optimistic this is only a temporary problem for the hospital.
"I'm confident that working with the Department of Health and the Cuomo administration, that this will be rectified," he said.
The question now, of course, is when? Officials tell us, right now, they don't have an answer.
The next step for EJ Noble hospital will be to come up with a plan of correction for the issues identified, and submit it to the State Department of Health for approval. The hospital's lab will remain closed until that process is complete.
"It would really be hard to estimate exactly how long it's going to take and then again to estimate if it's acceptable to the state," Monroe said.
State Senator Patty Ritchie, R-48th District, is working with hospital administration and the Department of Health. She says reopening the lab is a top priority for everyone involved.
"Everybody is on the same page to do everything, including myself, within their power to make sure that the Department of Health plan is put forward and so the hospital can open its doors back to patients as soon as possible," she explained.
Hospital officials say they're hopeful they'll be able to reopen the lab within the next two weeks to a month.
But, they admit, it could take longer.
Click here to see our earlier report.