Construction is well under way on Canberra's pop-up emergency department for COVID-19 patients on Garran Oval.
News of the impending completion of the $23 million project comes as the ACT will soon have no active cases of the disease in its borders after the territory went another 24 hours without a new case on Thursday.
There has been only one confirmed case in 10 days and there are only nine active cases in the ACT at present. In total, 104 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Canberra.
"We are getting very close to having no active cases," ACT chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said at a press conference on Thursday.
The temporary emergency department, dedicated to treating coronavirus patients, was announced earlier this month. It will be operated by Canberra company Aspen Medical.
The facility, set to be completed in May, will have 50 beds. Six of those will be resuscitation beds. The ACT government announced the construction as part of its second economic support package.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said it was being built so if a widespread outbreak were to occur the government would not have to rush to set up a makeshift hospital. More than 100 workers were at the construction site on Thursday. The project is being built by local firms Shaw Building Group and Manteena Commercial.
We are getting very close to having no active cases.ACT chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman
The 1778-square-metre building has been designed to be quickly erected and can be disassembled and stored, or relocated for reuse.
Up to 90 per cent of the building can be reused, according to information provided from a spokeswoman for Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith.
There will be a fence around the facility and this is to protect the privacy of patients at the facility.
The location of the pop-up emergency department at Garran Oval was chosen due to its close proximity to the Canberra Hospital. The project will sit on piers that can be removed so the oval can return to its original condition.
Testing for COVID-19 will be expanded in the territory from today for the next two weeks. Anyone who presents at one of the ACT's COVID-19 testing clinics and has symptoms of coronavirus would be tested.
Symptoms include a temperature of 38 degrees or above; a shortness of breath, a cough or sore throat.
"If you present to our testing services with COVID-19 symptoms, even if you haven't travelled overseas recently or been a close contact of a confirmed case, you will be tested," Dr Coleman said.
Despite the expanded testing criteria, Dr Coleman said she was "very confident" there was not a large number of undetected cases.
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