Harris County temporary hospital at NRG Stadium toured by officials

A new makeshift hospital for the Houston area is almost ready for patients outside NRG Stadium.

On Saturday, city, county, and state leaders toured the facility. The makeshift hospital will provide at least 250 beds for Coronavirus COVID-19 patients if hospitals exceed their capacity.

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“This will be for if the hospitals are full,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. “[If] their surge is full, and we still need additional beds.”

At least 5 rows of tents fill the parking lot now. All of the tents have air-conditioning units attached. The makeshift hospital could be ready for patients as early as Easter Sunday.

“It’s good to know that right now, not two weeks from now, that Harris County is in the position to take-on that excess capacity if needed,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.

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“There’s no other way to do this,” said Congressman Al Green. “It’s about all of us, and we should all be working together.”

According to Judge Hidalgo, construction for the facility will cost roughly $11 million. However, if it’s used by patients, the price will likely exceed $20 million. If needed, Harris County leaders approved the spending of $60 million on the makeshift hospital.

Hidalgo says the federal government will reimburse up to 75 percent of county funds used.

“This is not about dollars and cents,” said Hidalgo. “It’s about lives.  It’s about being smart. It’s about being proactive. There’s no guarantee that we succeed. We’re just giving ourselves the best shot.”

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We’re told that the tents have been constructed for all Houston weather.

“Given the weather, given the rain, it’s adequate right now,” said Hidalgo. “It takes into account the conditions we face in our county.”

According to city and county leaders, the most recent projections show that the facility won’t be needed. However, that could change, and officials say they want to be ready just in case.

“We look at the numbers every single morning,” said Turner. “They’re staying at their base capacity right now.”

“The projections right now show us peeking underneath the hospital capacity,” said Hidalgo. “If we continue with our precautions, we have the ability to get out of this without a deeper crisis.”