Construction underway for coronavirus medical shelter at NRG Stadium

NRG Stadium
A temporary medical shelter is being constructed outside NRG Stadium to help house patients if area hospitals run out of capacity while treating COVID-19 cases. (Courtesy Visit Houston)

A temporary medical shelter is being constructed outside NRG Stadium to help house patients if area hospitals run out of capacity while treating COVID-19 cases. (Courtesy Visit Houston)

Just weeks after the Houston Rodeo was canceled due to fears of coronavirus community spread, NRG Stadium is undergoing a transformation to serve as an ancillary medical site for patients.

Construction crews began work April 6 on a medical shelter that will assist the Houston area’s hospital system should any hospitals surpass capacity during a surge of COVID-19 cases.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo told reporters the hospitals in the Greater Houston area are operating at 70% capacity collectively, citing reports from first responder data system The Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council.

“We hope that we don’t get to the point where we will have to use it,” Hidalgo said. “In the meantime, we will have to find what we will need to use it."

The site, which is adjacent to the Texas Medical Center, is getting set up in the NRG Stadium parking lots rather than inside. Hidalgo said this is done to prevent respiratory illnesses from spreading and because deconstruction of rodeo facilities is still underway. She said the protocol follows similar efforts in other cities, including medical shelters active in New York City’s Central Park.


The county is working to secure medical staff for the site who will not come from area hospitals and thus further their strain, Hidalgo said.

Until more aid is available, Hidalgo said she secured assurance from the federal government; the county will be reimbursed for up to 75% of the cost of opening and operating the site.

Emma Whalen



MOST RECENT

The June 2 march will culminate with a rally at the steps of Houston City Hall. (Courtesy city of Houston)
Houston city buildings, some METRO services planned to shut down ahead of June 2 march for George Floyd

Ahead of the June 2 march with members of George Floyd's family through downtown Houston, several city services are planning to shut down early in the afternoon.

With protests over the death of George Floyd expected to continue this week in Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner has called for social distancing, and use of sanitizer and masks among protesters. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 388 new cases, 3 deaths confirmed June 1

With protests over the death of George Floyd expected to continue this week in Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner has called for social distancing, and use of sanitizer and masks among protesters.

Businesses shuttering their doors due to coronavirus restrictions lowered the sales tax revenue collected by cities in May compared to May 2019. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas comptroller reports 13.2% year-over-year state sales tax revenue drop in May

Tax collection revenue fell significantly in several sectors from May 2019 to May 2020, according to the comptroller's office.

EMS calls for suspected heart attacks are down nearly 50% since the coronavirus outbreak began in Houston. (Courtesy Houston Public Health)
Houston officials worry COVID-19 fears are driving down necessary hospitalizations

"You don't need to be afraid of catching the coronavirus at the hospital. Hospitals are safe to go to," Dr. David Persse said.

A march for George Floyd culminated at Houston City Hall on May 29. Another march is planned for June 2. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Ahead of June 2 George Floyd march, Mayor Turner calls for peace, coronavirus protection

The march is led by Houston rappers Bun B and Trae Tha Truth and by members of George Floyd's family.

Demonstrators gathered at the Texas Capitol on May 31 to protest police brutality. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas officials respond to demonstrations, unrest in wake of George Floyd killing

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a state of disaster in Texas on May 31, while various city officials and law enforcment responded to protests and violence over the weekend.

Jan Odegard has been named the interim executive director of the Ion. (Courtesy Rice University)
Rice University appoints interim executive director for Ion project

Gabriella Rowe recently stepped down from the role, according to an announcement from Rice University.

The Houston Police Department wants to give George Floyd's funeral a police escort, chief Art Acevedo said. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Police Chief Acevedo wants to give police escort for George Floyd's funeral

He said he will provide more details at a rally scheduled for Tuesday, June 2 where protesters will march to City Hall.

The rate of new cases being confirmed is still up compared to the end of April and early May. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: Weekly total of new cases falls after two weeks of increases

The rate of new cases being confirmed is still up compared to the end of April and early May.

Texas Medical Center continued to see week-over-week decreases in the total number of active COVID-19 hospitalizations but also saw a significant increase in patient deaths, the medical center reported May 29. (Community Impact staff)
Texas Medical Center sees another week-over-week decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations

Texas Medical Center continued to see week-over-week decreases in the total number of active COVID-19 hospitalizations but also saw a significant increase in patient deaths, the medical center reported May 29.

The Willie's Grill & Icehouse restaurant in Copperfield is temporarily closed after reopening in mid-May. (Courtesy Willie's Grill & Icehouse Copperfield)
Study predicts coronavirus spike and other top Houston-area stories

Read some of the most popular Houston-area content on Community Impact Newspaper’s website from this week.