Construction has started on the ACT's $23 million pop-up emergency department on Garran Oval for coronavirus patients.
The facility, which will be run by Canberra-based Aspen Medical, is expected to be operational some time in May.
While the exact model of how the temporary emergency department will work is yet to be determined, it's expected there will be around 200 medical staff with 50 beds for patients, six of the beds being resuscitation bays.
The site of Garran Oval was chosen due to it being opposite Canberra Hospital.
ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said while the number of new coronavirus cases in the ACT had been flat lining in recent days, the facility would be there regardless.
She said the number of cases could still increase in the weeks and months ahead.
"The best possible outcome is that we don't need this," Ms Stephen-Smith said on Thursday.
"Even with measures in place, we can expect to see community transmission of COVID-19 in the ACT as well as across Australia and we need a plan to ensure we can double and triple capacity."
It comes as the ACT government more than tripled the number of intensive care beds in Canberra to meet demand for coronavirus.
The pop-up emergency department is expected to be in place until at least July, although the health minister said its use would be extended for longer should the need arise.
Aspen Medical executive chair Glenn Keys said it was critical that the facility be built as soon as possible.
"By the time health systems realise they need more beds, it's too late to get them," he said.
"We're being prepared and if we need to start small and grow or we start big and contract, that's the flexibility we are working on."
The look of the temporary emergency department will be a steel rectangular structure, according to Mr Keys.
Construction of the site will include many Canberra contractors with many of the parts being made off-site before being trucked in.
Covered walkways between Canberra Hospital and the emergency department would also have to be constructed, along with power, water and sewerage facilities for the department.
While the site will be right next to Garran Primary School, Ms Stephen-Smith said it was not known if the emergency department would lead to the school's closure in Term 2, as some students still attend schools should they be unable to taught from home.
Ms Stephen-Smith said a tender process was not required for the proposal, as it would have led to a slower process to establish the emergency department.
Territory planning laws provide exemptions for projects to protect the public in emergencies such as a pandemic.
"There is a need to work quickly in this situation," Ms Stephen-Smith said.
"A tender process would have slowed it down and we would still end up with [Aspen Medical] who knows how to get this stuff done, and we're lucky to have Aspen in the community."
The health minister said details of whether the temporary emergency department would be just for more serious cases of COVID-19 or for all cases of the virus were still being determined.
Residents in the nearby area were being informed of the changes.
It is not known whether streets near the oval would be closed off or would be limited to emergency vehicles.
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