Alberta's COVID-19 field hospital is 'ready': officials
Alberta Health Services announced a field hospital, built with the Canadian Red Cross' help at the University of Alberta's Butterdome, was complete and ready on Jan. 21, 2020. (Credit: Alberta Health Services)
EDMONTON -- The field hospital meant to relieve Alberta's health care system should it be overwhelmed by COVID-19 is ready, Alberta Health Services says.
"Equipment is onsite and the Pandemic Response Unit at the Butterdome is ready and will open for patient use only if needed," AHS announced.
Officials didn't specify exactly when work by the Canadian Red Cross on the facility finished, but shared photos of the completed site at the University of Alberta's Butterdome on Thursday.
The Alberta government has said it will open beds at the location only as needed.
It could host up to 100 patients recovering from COVID-19 who are considered to be low risk of transmitting the disease.
The facility will be equipped to care for other kinds of patients, too.
Alberta's chief medical officer of health reported the same day 678 new cases of COVID-19 amongst 14,000 tests conducted on Wednesday.
Of 726 people who are hospitalized because of COVID-19, 119 are in ICUs.
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Hinshaw said easing restrictions now could threaten Alberta's acute care system.
"Of course it's encouraging to see the leading indicators of our case counts and our positivity rate going down, but ultimately what is most important is that we make sure our acute care system is able to respond to all of our health needs. And to do that, we need to give it a bit more time," she told reporters.