CALGARY -- A multi-million-dollar temporary care centre, meant to cater to patients suffering from severe COVID-19 symptoms, has not admitted a single patient with the illness, CTV News has learned.

Earlier this year, Alberta Health Services budgeted $3 million for the Sprung Pandemic Response Facility at the Peter Lougheed Centre (PLC) in Calgary.

Sprung Structures, the company that donated the tent structure, which cost about $235,000 to build, said the project came in under budget, saving AHS approximately $1 million.

When it was completed in May, Health Minister Tyler Shandro called it an example of how companies have come forward to help the health-care industry in the fight against COVID-19.

However, in over five months since the facility has been open, it has yet to treat a single patient suffering from the illness.

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"Currently AHS is able to meet patient demands within existing facilities in the Calgary zone due to strong planning and actions taken to ensure surge capacity," the agency wrote in an email to CTV News.

The beds are being used, but AHS says those patients are being admitted through the PLC's emergency department.

"Since Aug. 5, the temporary structure has been used as an extension of the emergency department to facilitate physical distancing, with 16 intake beds operating between 7 a.m. and 3 a.m. (20 hours per day)."

The company behind the building says it has installed structures at a number of hospitals in Ontario as part of their pandemic response.

"In most cases, the facilities will be used by their respective health organizations as additional flex space to meet whatever needs the hospitals may have as time goes on," said Liane MacNeil, Sprung Structures spokesperson in an email.

In addition to the buildings in Mississauga, Barrie and Burlington, Ont., MacNeil says similar projects are underway in Ottawa and Montreal.

Sprung also isn't just in the business of care centres, MacNeil says.

"We’re also working with ski areas throughout the U.S. and Canada to add space for this season, so their staff and guests can adhere to physical distancing. Everything from rental shops to on-mountain day lodges. We’ve worked with about 40 ski areas to date (several just this year alone as a response to the pandemic)."

The company is also currently at work at Sunshine Village in Lake Louise, Alta.


AHS says Calgary's Sprung facility will remain in place during the coming months as a precaution to deal with any possible "surges of COVID cases."

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AHS says no other temporary field hospitals are in the works at this time.

The province reported a third-straight day of more than 400 new cases of COVID-19 last Friday. There are more than 3,600 active cases in Alberta, but just 112 patients are in hospital, with 14 in intensive care units.