Rural hospitals and urgent care facilities across the province are temporarily moving to appointment-only lab work for outpatients.

The change will start on Monday, May 4 in order to control traffic in and out of smaller heath care centres.

Alberta Health Services says the change aims to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and to ensure laboratory resources remain available for people who need them most.

Rural patients are encouraged to discuss the urgency of their lab work with their doctor before booking appointments.

The changes will include southern Alberta health care facilities in Coaldale, Raymond, Pincher Creek, Claresholm, Taber, Picture Butte, Cardston, Milk River, Bow Island, and the Crowsnest Pass.