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
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

Here are the latest coronavirus updates for Fort Bend County. (Courtesy Fort Bend County)
Fort Bend County confirms 49 coronavirus cases May 29, highest single-day total since early May

Missouri City now has more than 300 confirmed coronavirus cases.

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.

YogaSix opened on University Boulevard in Sugar Land on May 18. (Courtesy YogaSix)
YogaSix opens Riverstone studio with increased health precautions during coronavirus pandemic

The yoga studio, which opened May 18, is offering in-person and livestreamed classes.

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.

The syrup drums being repurposed into rain barrels were donated from Coca-Cola. (Courtesy Galveston Bay Foundation)
Galveston Bay Foundation to host virtual, drive-thru rain barrel workshop

The Kemah-based nature conservation nonprofit is hosting a rain barrel workshop this weekend for Houstonians thirsting for a way to help conserve the community’s water supply.

To help its economy recover from COVID-19, Sugar Land’s economic development department plans to implement a marketing campaign in mid-June referred to as #AllInForSLTX. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Sugar Land to launch #AllInForSLTX campaign to stimulate economy in response to COVID-19

About 92% of businesses surveyed in Sugar Land experienced a decline in business due to COVID-19.

Fort Bend County Judge KP hosted a discussion on Facebook Live with officials from the Kinder Institute and Fort Bend County Health and Human Services about how the results of the COVID-19 Registry will be used. (Courtesy Fort Bend County)
Fort Bend County officials to use COVID-19 Registry to guide coronavirus response

Here is how you can join the COVID-19 Registry and shape Fort Bend County's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Texas Renaissance Festival is set to resume Oct. 3 with safety guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. (Courtesy Texas Renaissance Festival)
Texas Renaissance Festival announces tentative modifications for 2020 season

In a May 28 statement, General Manager Joseph Bailey said new safety measures are in the works to comply with governmental recommendations, and an operating plan is expected to be reviewed with officials in June.

Missouri City City Council met for a special meeting May 26. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)
With latest action, Missouri City City Council votes down community survey in search for city manager

The results of the survey would have helped council identify issues and priorities to consider when selecting the next city manager.

Health officials in Fort Bend County confirmed 17 new coronavirus cases May 28. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Sugar Land, Missouri City each see 5 new coronavirus cases May 28

There were 17 new coronavirus cases reported in Fort Bend County on May 28, bringing the county total to 1,783 confirmed coronavirus cases.

Outdoor venues in all Texas counties will be permitted to operate at up to 25% capacity starting May 31. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Spectators to be welcomed back to Texas outdoor sporting events May 31 at 25% of venue capacity

Venue owners must operate under guidelines that facilitate appropriate social distancing.

Students enrolled in the University of Houston College of Nursing can take classes at the Sugar Land campus. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: UH College of Nursing dean reflects on how coronavirus has affected education, profession

Kathryn Tart, dean of the University of Houston’s College of Nursing, spoke with Community Impact Newspaper about how the novel coronavirus is changing the way the university is educating nursing students.