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Edmonton field hospital ready by January, to be used as last resort: health minister

Last Updated Dec 17, 2020 at 11:38 am MDT

Health Minister Tyler Shandro wears a mask before a press conference begins in Calgary on Monday, August 24, 2020. (PHOTO: Tom Ross - 660 NEWS)

EDMONTON – A new field hospital being set up on Edmonton’s University of Alberta campus will be operational by January, but Health Minister Tyler Shandro said it remains a last-ditch contingency.

Shandro said the temporary 100-bed facility would only be necessary if current hospital limits, including creating up to 2,250 beds for COVID-19 patients, are reached.

The project is being done with help from the Canadian Red Cross and is being set it up inside the Universiade Pavilion.

The cavernous, multi-purpose sports facility, just south of the downtown, is better known as the Butterdome given its rectangular shape and yellow exterior.

If necessary, the field hospital is to be used for non-critical patients and patients who are recovering from COVID-19 but are at low risk of transmitting the novel coronavirus.

Alberta already has a field hospital up and running outside the Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary, and it’s currently being used to allow for extra physical distancing while emergency patients are treated.