REGINA -- Despite low case numbers in the province, the Saskatchewan Health Authority is moving ahead with construction of field hospitals in Regina and Saskatoon.

"While we hope we never have to use them, these facilities will, if effect, be our insurance policy," Minister of Health Jim Reiter said.

Saskatchewan currently has 21 active cases of COVID-19 and for the past six days, just one person has required hospitalization due to the virus.

The province’s low case numbers have led to lightened restrictions at hospitals and the reopening of the economy. The SHA says the construction of field hospitals is in anticipation of a second wave of COVID-19 and to make up for beds lost with the resumption of regular services.


The two field hospitals will add 304 additional beds to the province’s supply to treat COVID-19 positive patients.

"That’s why we ant to have that capacity, so that in the eventuality, while we hope that second doesn’t happen, we want to be prepared in case it does," Reiter said.

"The hospitals being set up in a way so that we can use them to have capacity for acute care in our two biggest centre," added SHA CEO Scott Livingstone.

The field hospitals would be opened to patients if the province sees a severe spike in cases or a major outbreak effecting staff at hospitals in Regina or Saskatoon.

While construction is ongoing, the SHA estimates the cost of these two facilities to be about $8-million for construction, equipment and IT services.

"The philosophy we used when creating the context around field hospitals is the equipment that would be used in a field hospital is the same type of equipment that would be used in a normal hospital," Livingstone said. "We would be able to redeploy, if the equipment wasn’t used or if it was used, we would be have the ability to reuse it at any given time."

According to the SHA, the largest cost associated with the field hospitals would come from staffing, if the facilities were put into use.