With a history of having assisted emergency medical responses in 17 countries, this month bought Aspen Medical's work a little closer to home.
The medical research firm has been contracted to deliver a pop-up emergency department to treat coronavirus patients, as part of a $126 million ACT and federal health spend announced this week.
Several sites near the Canberra Hospital were currently being considered for the 50-bed facility, with a decision on its location expected by Monday.
Executive chairman of Aspen Medical, Glenn Keys, said most of his team of more than 200 Canberrans had barely had a day off in the last eight weeks.
Mr Keys said despite many of the 1000 Australian Aspen Medical professionals currently working to control the COVID-19 outbreak, all members of the more than 2500-strong workforce were in good health.
"We're very proud of that," Mr Keys said. "As was the case with Ebola, everyone has stayed healthy."
Initially contracted to provide wellbeing services to crew members from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, the company has since been tasked with rolling out more than 100 respiratory clinics across Australia. The temporary testing facilities will be delivered in addition to the emergency department pop up, expected to open in the ACT in May.
With seven general practitioner-led test sites already operating in three states, planning for Aspen Medical to support the provision of more clinics in Canberra was also under way.
ACT health minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the additional clinics would complement the Weston Creek Walk-in Centre, EPIC Drive-through and the Assessment Clinics at Calvary Public Hospital and the Canberra Hospital, which primarily test healthcare workers.
Two locations have already been assessed and another four were being surveyed, with an expectation that three locations in total are likely to be approved. Ms Stephen-Smith said these clinics would be spread across the ACT.
Ms Stephen-Smith said the Weston Creek Walk-in Centre and the EPIC drive through were meeting the current demand for testing in the ACT.
"We are not seeing the same demand for testing that we have been experiencing over the last few weeks," she said.
"However, we are expecting demand for both testing and support for positive cases to increase again as the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold."
Mr Keys said wherever they could, local businesses would be used to facilitate the set up of the respiratory clinics and the establishment of an emergency department in Woden.
"We are a very proud Canberra company," Mr Keys said.
"For the chairs and equipment that is required we will try to buy local and we'll employ local plumbers and people in IT and trades to help stimulate the economy."
The seven currently operating respiratory clinics have been set up in Macquarie Park and Blacktown in NSW, Prahran and Altona North in Victoria and Nundah, Morayfield and Emerald in Queensland. A further 28 general practitioners had been offered contracts.
The 100 clinics were expected to be operational across Australia within 4-6 weeks, at a cost of around $206.7 million to the Federal government.
Mr Aspen said the Canberra emergency department was the biggest coronavirus pop-up currently in the works for them in Australia.
The cost of the $23 million project will be shared between the territory and federal government. Designed to be "packed up and go away" at the end of the coronavirus outbreak, it was likely to replicate a traditional emergency department, with curtains between beds rather than separate rooms.
Mr Key said a protocol on when patients would be admitted into the Canberra Hospital for treatment against coronavirus and when they would attend the emergency department was still being finalised.
He said in the event of an "overflow capacity" at the main hospital the pop-up facility would provide beds.
A clear set of guidelines on protocol for who goes where and when would be determined based on what the medical research firm had learnt establishing similar facilities elsewhere.
Mr Key said Aspen Medical was currently in talks with United States medical providers to establish a 2000-bed facility in the south of the country.
Missouri, South Carolina, Utah, Iowa, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming did not have statewide stay-at-home orders in place as of Friday evening.
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