As the novel coronavirus sweeps through the nation, Houston officials are taking steps to stem the flow should the pandemic overrun our hospitals.
The City of Houston and Harris County announced that emergency treatment centers are being built at NRG Park. The purpose of the facility is to provide health and medical-related care to COVID-19 patients if hospitals exceed their capacities, according to a statement from the county.
This comes as hospitals in areas such as New York City are seeing “apocalyptic” surges of COVID-19 cases. There are no plans to open the Houston shelter currently, according to the county, rather, the facilities are a last resort.
The construction design features three specific treatment modules, with each module accommodating some 250 people. County officials plan to release more information on the facilities at a later date.
The facilities are expected to cost $60 million; officials will vote Tuesday, April 7, on the budget, according to CultureMap news partner ABC13. Houston City Council is also considering converting two hotels into emergency facilities.
“The construction will start right now in the parking lot of NRG,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo told ABC13. “We, right now, can't build it indoors because, of course, we're still cleaning up for the rodeo. That would be a dangerous situation for anybody with respiratory illness to be around all those materials that are necessary for the rodeo, so it's been done sort of outside.”
While the cost of these emergency facilities is steep, county officials plan to request reimbursement for the $60 million price tag should the vote pass.