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Coronavirus: AHS builds temporary Calgary health-care facility

Alberta Health Services announced Saturday that construction was finished on the temporary hospital for COVID-19 patients in Calgary. Mike Hills/Global News

Crews have finished building a temporary health-care facility at the Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary, according to an Alberta Health Services statement issued Saturday.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Alberta confirms 97 new cases, 2 more deaths Saturday

The 766-square-metre field hospital — called a Sprung Pandemic Response facility — will add capacity to “meet increasing demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” AHS said.

It took under three weeks to build, and has 67 beds and support space for staff, according to AHS.

If necessary, the facility will accommodate people with confirmed, possible or probable cases of COVID-19, AHS said.

“Currently, AHS is able to meet patient demands within existing facilities in the Calgary zone due to strong planning and actions taken to build hospital capacity,” said Dr. Verna Yiu, AHS president and CEO, in a statement.

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“This initiative was undertaken to ensure we have capacity in the Calgary zone in the event we see a spike in COVID-19 cases that require hospitalization.”

Officials are not sure when the structure will be used but said it will be up until October.

Karen Foudy, executive director of the Peter Lougheed Centre, said AHS is being proactive rather than reactive. She explained that within 24 hours’ notice, the centre could be up and running with staff and supplies. For now, the facility will be closed until it is needed, she said.

Alberta Health Services announced Saturday that construction was finished on the temporary hospital for COVID-19 patients in Calgary. Mike Hills/Global News

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said the project was under budget — coming in at under $2 million instead of the budgeted $3 million — and ahead of schedule.

“It shows what can be achieved when we work together for the good of Albertans,” he said via a Zoom media availability.

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“It’s also an incredible example of the can-do and entrepreneurial attitude that the people in this province are known for and how we can rally together come hell, high water, fire and yes, even a global pandemic.”

Even though people are working to flatten the curve, everyone has to be vigilant and prepared, Shandro said, adding that he hopes the province never needs to use the facility.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus outbreak: Alberta health minister announces temporary structure at Peter Lougheed Centre' Coronavirus outbreak: Alberta health minister announces temporary structure at Peter Lougheed Centre
Coronavirus outbreak: Alberta health minister announces temporary structure at Peter Lougheed Centre – Apr 9, 2020

The temporary building was donated by Alberta company Sprung Structures.

AHS’ other partners include Falkbuilt Technologies, CANA Construction, Botting Mechanical, Acutech Electric, WestJet, Stantec, the Alberta government and the City of Calgary.

WestJet said it donated 115 galley carts from its Boeing 767s to the facility.

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