Alberta has made huge leaps in flattening its curve, but they're taking it slow and careful when it comes to reopening. In just weeks, workers built a new field hospital in Calgary and it's absolutely massive. But despite all that, it's completely empty right now and will be until the province sees a new wave of cases.
It took workers under three weeks to finish the massive, 766 square metre building, according to a news release. Not only did it finish earlier than expected, but it also cost just $2 million to build — a million less than they expected.
Found in the Peter Lougheed Centre, the hospital looks like a giant tent. Its two main hallways are lined with beds, and the temporary building has 67 "patient care spaces" and room for a staff of health care professionals.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) says it can take in COVID-19 patients and will be staying until at least October.
The entire hospital was a donation by Albertan company Sprung Structures. However, according to AHS, the enormous hospital with all its rooms isn't necessary right now.
"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.
"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," Yiu continued.
Essentially, the building was made so the city's hospitals don't get flooded with patients in case a new wave of infections happens.
And since most of the province's cases are in the Calgary zone, according to official stats, the location makes sense.
Days earlier, Albertan Premier Jason Kenney announced that the province had plans and a timeline set for their reopening.
Already we're seeing some of the provincial parks welcoming in cars, with restaurants and retail stores following as soon as Thursday, April 16.
At the same time, Kenney warned people not to get too hasty or we could be staring down a second wave of infections in the province.
The AHS doesn't know when or even if the hospital will be opened for use, and that may be a good thing. It's a good idea to stay prepared, said Health Minister Tyler Shandro.
But for now, this enormous building will have to sit empty in wait.