A steady rise in patients presenting to Border emergency departments with serious illnesses has forced Albury Wodonga Health to enact its third code yellow of the year.
The internal emergency was declared on Tuesday and will be reviewed every 12 hours.
Interim chief executive Janet Chapman said around 200 people required emergency care each day, but it was the severity of their conditions that had piled the pressure on staff.
"The people who are coming to see us are really unwell, which means that they need to come into a bed and then they need to stay in bed for quite a long time," she said.
"We're also seeing increasing levels of COVID in our community and COVID in people who are admitted to our health service and a lot of other respiratory diseases like influenza and asthma.
"That pressure means we have to look at some different ways of providing the care that people need to keep everyone safe."
Mrs Chapman said it was not a decision made lightly but it did not mean everything was in crisis.
"It doesn't mean that we people can't come to us to access care. It's a mechanism we can use to make sure that we delay or defer things that are not quite as essential," she said.
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"We can redirect staff to different areas to really look after those people who are unwell. We can postpone meetings and a range of activities and really focus all our efforts on the clinical care that those people need when they are so unwell."
Mrs Chapman welcomed a $45 million allowance in the NSW budget for extra theatres and beds and valued Victorian opposition leader Matthew Guy's $300 million election promise for a new Albury-Wodonga hospital.
"The new hospital is long term, there's a lot of work that we still have to do before we would be anticipating an announcement of significant funding for their hospital," she said.
Meanwhile, Albury Wodonga Health has opted to make temporary changes to its visitor policy.
To help minimise the risk of viral transmission, patients will be permitted to see one adult visitor for two hours, once per day, who can be accompanied by a child under 12 years of age for the same length of time.
Mrs Chapman said the decision to limit the number of visitors was not linked to code yellow.
"It's because of the increasing level of COVID across the service with our staff," she said.
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