Calgary's Peter Lougheed Centre will receive a temporary expansion as the province continues to prepare for more cases of COVID-19.

As of April 9, there are 1,451 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, 878 of which are in the Calgary zone. Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced the temporary expansion, which he says will help one of Alberta's busiest hospitals support the expected surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

The Alberta-based company Sprung Structures has donated the $235,000 structure that Shandro says will add up to 6,000 square feet of treatment space for approximately 100 acute care beds. It will be located in the parking lot next to PLC.

Shandro says Alberta Health Services will invest up to $3 million in the project to fast-track it and ensure it meets all standards for infection and prevention control. He expects the temporary structure will be ready later this month in time for the expected peak of COVID-19 infections in the province.

“Our health system is working around-the-clock to respond to COVID-19," says Shandro. "This donation to AHS and the people of Alberta will significantly expand capacity and, ultimately, help save lives.”

AHS President and CEO Dr. Verna Yiu says the donation will greatly assist with planning and increase capacity as AHS continues to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This new space will provide more options for treatment beyond the scope of our existing facilities as our teams continue to care for Albertans and battle this pandemic," says Dr. Yiu.

Vice President of Sprung Structures Tim Sprung says they wanted to step up to help the province in a time of crisis.

“We hope the donation of this structure will help ease capacity pressures on the health-care system and give our province's health-care providers the space they need to care for Albertans during this global pandemic,” says Sprung.

According to a government press release, AHS is working to ensure more than 3,000 acute care beds and ICU spaces are available for COVID-19 patients. Measures have already been put in place to free up bed space by postponing all elective surgeries and procedures and identifiying non-clinical spaces in AHS facilities that can be used.