The City of Houston may utilize a former healthcare facility in Shady Acres as part of its response to COVID-19.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner toured the former Kindred Hospital, which closed earlier this year at 1800 W. 26th St., on Sunday. He said the city is scoping out auxiliary facilities that can be used to increase the region’s hospital bed capacity and for other purposes, such as quaranating first responders and other city employees as well as providing shelter for the homeless.
“It’s a facility that’s now available,” Turner said. “We wanted to get an opportunity to tour it just in case we need to expand our hospital bed capacity or, quite frankly, to be used for any other necessity we may have.”
A spokesperson for Turner said a deal is not yet in place between the city and the property owner, N W Doctors Plaza, LLC, which has offered to make the space available. Turner also said it is not yet needed, with the region’s existing hospitals still under their utilization limits.
Turner said the vacant Kindred property has 68 existing hospital beds and the capacity for about 100. It also has 21 beds in an intensive care unit.
“If we needed it today, it’s ready to be stood up today,” Turner said. “All we’d have to do is put in equipment and be ready to go.”
The city announced 54 new cases of COVID-19, the upper-respiratory disease caused by the new strain of coronavirus, on Sunday. A total of 286 city residents have tested positive for the disease, which has caused two deaths among city residents. Turner said the percentages of cases by age are fairly even between 20 and 70, with the most cases in the 40-49 group.
An additional 240 residents of Harris County have tested positive, including 27 new cases announced Sunday. The county reported its second COVID-19 death on Sunday and said 34 of the patients it has identified have recovered.
All of Harris County is under a “stay-at-home, work safe” order through April 3, meaning residents must stay at home except for essential reasons such as to exercise outside or obtain groceries, household items or medical care. Only businesses deemed essential are allowed to operate during the order. All citizens are asked to adhere to social distancing guidelines by maintaining at least 6 feet separation between each other.
“It’s not going to be a one-week-and-done (situation) or a two-week-and-done. We’ve got be very patient,” Turner said. “The virus will dictate the schedule. We will not dictate the schedule.”