SASKATOON -- The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) says it has completed the infrastructure for COVID-19 field hospitals in Saskatoon and Regina.

In a phone conference Thursday with media, emergency operations chief Derek Miller said the SHA also has equipment available and has an activation plan to have the field hospitals in either location up and running.

The facilities are meant to serve patients that don't require the level of service offered in an acute setting, but still need ongoing service such as monitoring or oxygen.

Thirty-five COVID-19 patients are now hospitalized in Saskatoon with only two ICU beds available if their conditions deteriorate, Miller said.

He cited “significant ongoing capacity challenges in Saskatoon” with inpatient demand at about 105 per cent of capacity.

However, delivering services in a field hospital would require a significant slowdown of services, he said.

“We would only see us admitting patients into field hospitals when we have used every other step in our response plan, every other search space,” Miller said.

”We've designated significant portions of our hospitals as COVID hospitals, we've moved into spaces like rehab spaces or therapy spaces, other outpatient spaces in our 15 hospitals. And we're at the point where the only available option is moving into a field hospital environment. It's basically a last resort option.”