Sugar Land, Missouri City medical providers innovate in response to ongoing coronavirus pandemic

CHI St. Luke's Sugar Land Hospital and Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital display yard signs recognizing their staff. (Photos by Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)
CHI St. Luke's Sugar Land Hospital and Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital display yard signs recognizing their staff. (Photos by Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)

CHI St. Luke's Sugar Land Hospital and Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital display yard signs recognizing their staff. (Photos by Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
CHI St. Luke's Sugar Land Hospital and Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital display yard signs recognizing their staff. (Photos by Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
CHI St. Luke's Sugar Land Hospital and Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital display yard signs recognizing their staff. (Photos by Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)

Editor's note: This story is part one in a three-part series on how the coronavirus pandemic has affected Sugar Land and Missouri City health care providers.

In early March, Fort Bend County reported the first case of the coronavirus in the Greater Houston area, launching hospitals and urgent care facilities to the forefront of the pandemic. Health care providers quickly had to overhaul operations and rethink procedures to keep patients safe.

While the Houston area has not seen a surge in coronavirus patients like other parts of the country and world have, Chris Siebenaler, the regional senior vice president and chief executive officer of Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital, said hospitals still had to prepare for a potential influx of patients.

“Dealing with the influx of [COVID-19] patients presents a unique set of challenges because we don't have a lot of data as to how do you care for these patients,” Siebenaler said. “For a period of about six or seven weeks, it was a daily dynamic process of understanding what's happening; what's changing in terms of how we care for these patients; what precautions we take in terms of [personal protective equipment]. All of those things tended to be very challenging on a day in and day out basis.”

The coronavirus pandemic had an immediate and drastic effect on hospitals in the CHI St. Luke’s system, said Steven Foster, president and CEO of CHI St. Luke’s Sugar Land Hospital.



Like most other hospitals in the area, Foster said CHI St. Luke’s implemented a no-visitor policy, established mask requirements, began screening everyone in the hospital for coronavirus symptoms and rearranged furniture to promote social distancing.

“When you walk in our hospital, it looks different,” Foster said. “We don't have our beautiful furniture in the lounge area, and the things that we've put out to reduce the stress of being in the hospital, now they're empty hallways. We've got the signs on the floor that say please remember to space out every 6 feet. So it's a much different place.”

Foster said the hospital also established COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 wings of the hospital to mitigate the spread of the virus.

“Everything has been redesigned and very well thought out to make sure that there's no danger or fear of that virus spreading,” Foster said.

At Next Level Urgent Care, CEO Dr. Juliet Breeze said to keep the virus out of clinics, staff has begun initiating patient visits from the car, where they take vitals and screen for any potential symptoms.

“Right away we started to understand that we were going to have to change the way we saw patients because there was just so much fear and panic in both my staff population and the patient population,” Breeze said.

Breeze said the coronavirus has presented the most challenging obstacles of her career, but she knew her staff had an important role to play during the pandemic. Next Level Urgent Care has a clinic in both Sugar Land and Missouri City.

“We're health care providers,” Breeze said. “We can't shut our doors when a virus comes calling.”

By Claire Shoop

Reporter, Sugar Land/Missouri City

Claire joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2019 as the reporter for the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in May 2019 where she studied journalism, government and Arabic. While in school, Claire was a fellow for The Texas Tribune, worked for the student newspaper, The Daily Texan, and spent a semester in Washington, D.C. She enjoys playing cards with her family and listening to the Boss, Bruce Springsteen.



MOST RECENT

The 6.5-mile project will be an important connection for the pedestrian, bicycle and transit networks, according to city officials. (Courtesy Austin Public Works)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: City of Austin begins design of urban trail on abandoned rail corridor; 12 things to do in and around New Braunfels this holiday season and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 6.

Consuelo Mendez Middle School has consistently received poor ratings from the Texas Education Agency. (Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: State could take over AISD school board if poorly-rated campus does not improve; new furniture store to open in McKinney and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 3.

The committee’s main goal will be developing initiatives and strategies to help better engage with diverse communities within Fort Bend County, per the release. (Courtesy Fort Bend County)
Fort Bend County forms new committee for diversity initiatives

According to the release, the group met for the first time on Nov. 29 to discuss a possible implementation of a community engagement plan.

The school board will consider whether to call a special election to fill the vacancy or make an appointment. (Zara Flores/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Hays CISD to hold special meeting on resignation of board member; Montgomery approves plan for downtown and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 2.

One event to attend this weekend is City of Sugar Land’s Annual Christmas Tree Lighting. (Courtesy Canva)
7 events to attend in Sugar Land, Missouri City this weekend, Dec. 3-5

Looking for something to do in Sugar Land or Missouri City this weekend? Check out the weekend guide.

Zoo Lights is a light show within the Houston Zoo that happens every year. (Courtesy Houston Zoo Lights)
10 holiday light displays to see in the Greater Houston area

Check out these nine free and ticketed displays to see through December and January in the Houston area.

Tomball City Council approved a development agreement with Lovett Industrial for 240 acres at Hwy. 249, Rocky Road Nov. 29. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Tomball City Council approves development of 240 acres at Hwy. 249, Rocky Road; JLB Eatery coming soon to Katy and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Dec. 1.

Read more below for the latest five projects that have been filed in the Sugar Land and Missouri City area. (Courtesy Canva)
MAP: Check out the 5 latest commercial projects filed in Sugar Land and Missouri City, including renovated Comcast

Check out the five latest commercial projects filed in Sugar Land and Missouri City.

Read more below for the latest five projects that have been filed in the Sugar Land and Missouri City area. (Courtesy Canva)
Here are the 5 latest commercial projects filed in Sugar Land and Missouri City including renovated Southwest Commerce Center

Check out the five latest commercial projects filed in Sugar Land and Missouri City.

Read more below for the latest five projects that have been filed in the Sugar Land and Missouri City area. (Courtesy Canva)
Check out the 5 latest commercial projects filed in Sugar Land and Missouri City, including new Lakeview Business Park

Check out the five latest commercial projects filed in Sugar Land and Missouri City.

Read more below for the latest five projects that have been filed in the Sugar Land and Missouri City areas. (Courtesy Canva)
MAP: Check out the 5 latest commercial projects filed in Sugar Land and Missouri City, including renovated Hollywood Feeds

Check out the five latest commercial projects filed in Sugar Land and Missouri City.