Mercyhealth announced in a news release Monday it will be placing an undisclosed number of employees on furlough in the midst of an international pandemic.

Furloughed employees will not be paid, according to an email from Mercyhealth President Javon Bea to employees.

The email was provided to The Gazette by multiple employees who asked to remain anonymous.

Mercyhealth will furlough employees who “are not providing direct patient care and for those that provide services that can be delayed,” according to the release.

It is unknown how many employees will be affected.

The health system will not release any more details “due to confidentiality,” Vice President Barb Bortner said in an email to news outlets.

Furloughs will be given to employees at facilities in Wisconsin and Illinois.

The furloughs will “ensure our compliance with governmental ‘shelter-in-place’ orders,” according to the release.

Furloughs were issued to help the health care system meet patient needs and “survive the economic challenges presented by this COVID-19 situation,” according to the release.

Affected employees will be able to use personal time off, if applicable, and retain all benefits. Those employees will be contacted by human resources personnel, according to the email sent to staff.

Mercyhealth officials in the release said the furlough is expected to be temporary.

“We do not expect this furlough to last more than a few weeks,” according to the release.

Gov. Tony Evers on Monday announced he will issue a statewide “safer at home” order today. The order will mandate closure of non-essential businesses and urge people to stay at home and not leave unless absolutely necessary.

Mercyhealth is one of Rock County’s largest employers with more than 2,000 employees across multiple facilities, according to the Rock County Development Alliance.