ELMIRA, NY (WENY) -- Arnot Health leaders announced Monday it will be shutting down its Emergency Department operations at Saint Joseph's Hospital, and transferring at ED activity to neighboring Arnot Ogden Medical Center.

Arnot Health says the move had been in the works for early next year, but the system has decided to expedite the process as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis. The change will be effective Monday, June 1st.

“With an estimated $1 million in annual savings expected from this consolidation, this move is a vital part of our strategy to redefine the way we provide essential healthcare services to our community and to ensure the continued viability of our health system,” said Jonathan Lawrence, President and CEO of Arnot Health.

The health system says over the past several weeks, emergency department volume has decreased by half at both hospitals, which are about two miles apart in the city of Elmira. St. Joseph's Hospital currently averages about 11 patients a day. The health system says maintaining ongoing ED operations at both locations has become financially unfeasible.

Last month, Arnot Health announced the furlough of over 400 employees, a hiring and expenditures freeze, and wage reductions due to revenue losses related to COVID-19. 

Arnot Ogden Medical Center is currently undergoing a state grant-funded expansion project. The system says it is confident in its ability to accommodate the current volume of emergency department patients, as levels are well below what they were pre-COVID-19, and are expected to remain that way for the foreseeable future. 

“We are confident that we can coordinate with our community partners to effectively transition ED services to the AOMC campus, and we appreciate the community’s continued recognition and outpouring of support for our extensive efforts to ensure a sustainable future and preserve the mission of Arnot Health during this pandemic and for generations to come,” Lawrence said.