$17M Houston ‘Pop-Up’ Hospital May Be Dismantled Over Lack of Use

According to Fox News, “A makeshift 250-bed medical shelter at NRG Park in Houston that cost millions — meant to be a last resort if local hospitals were overwhelmed by the coronavirus — may be dismantled as early as next week over lack of use, according to a report.”

“We don’t want to be caught flat-footed,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said before construction began on the shelter a little more than two weeks ago, according to KPRC-TV in Houston. “We are working to stay ahead of this.”

The facility was designed to help with a surge of coronavirus patients at the Texas Medical Center. But that surge never materialized and the facility sits empty right now.

Medical experts say the curve is starting to flatten, the makeshift hospital may not prove necessary, the virus and daily cases seem to be declining, the station reported.

Originally reported with a potential price tag of $60 million, KPRC reported the pop-up shelter will cost around $17 million and the federal government has agreed to pay 75 percent, leaving a likely $4.25 million tab for local taxpayers.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo described the original $60 million contract as: “The best deal we could possibly get for Harris County.”

On April 6, before the deal was finalized, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said, “We are still within the hospitals’ abilities to handle the load.”

Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle will ask the county next week to cancel the hospital’s contract, Houston’s KTRK-TV reported.

“It was a good insurance policy but clearly, we don’t need it,” Joe Stinebaker, Cagle’s director of communications, said.

About Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith is a newcomer to Washington D.C. She met, and married an American journalist and moved to D.C from the U.K. She graduated with a B.A in Graphic, Media and Communications and worked in design and retail in the U.K.

Photo: (Photo by Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images)

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