LONDON, ONT. -- Work is underway inside the Western Fair Agriplex to convert the trade show space into a field hospital for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overseen by the London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), construction of the off-site hospital is a collaborative effort with local health care agencies, the city and the Western Fair District.

The hospital said in a statement it "will initially be used as a transfer facility for patients who are recovering from COVID-19, but not yet well enough to be discharged home."

LHSC added that it will be a 180-bed unit with the possibility to expand to a 500-bed facility.

Several tradespeople, fire inspectors, and an employee from the City of London Emergency Response Division  were seen coming and going from the building Friday, but would not comment on its purpose.

An industrial generator has been installed along Florence Street to service the facility.

The field hospital will be managed by LHSC, but will activate only if and when the need arises, officials said.

Media are being invited to tour the facility next week.

Recovery centres prepared in Grey-Bruce

Grey and Bruce counties, along with the Grey Bruce Health Unit and Bruce Power are creating community recovery centres.

The centres will be at the Davidson Centre in Kincardine, the P&H Centre in Hanover and at a third site that has yet to be determined.

Officials say the centres are not designed for critical or high-level care, instead they will provide additional patient support.