WILLIAMSTON, N.C (WNCT) – Martin General Hospital has temporarily suspended intensive care unit services starting August 1, according to a statement from the hospital.

“Like many rural hospitals across the nation, our hospital has struggled to recruit nurses despite ongoing efforts,” said John Jacobson, CEO of Martin General Hospital, in a media release. “The critical shortage levels are even more challenging in rural areas.”

The medical and surgical units will remain open and fully operational, as will the hospital’s emergency department, Jacobson said. The hospital currently serves the community with 49 beds available.

The statement also indicated patients who come to the emergency department needing higher-acuity intensive care, Martin General remains in close contact with ECU Health in Greenville, to facilitate quick transfers when necessary. Martin General also works with the University of North Carolina, Duke University Hospital, and WakeMed to ensure continuity of care, the statement read.