A day on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis at small suburban hosptial with no deaths

HOUSTON – The care givers in the COVID-19 unit at United Memorial Medical Center suit up to battle the virus with the same ritual every day.

First a protective, plastic jumper over scrubs. Then protective booties over that. Then comes head protection, a protective gown, two face masks, safety glasses and a face shield. All of that is topped off with a photo of yourself to show patients who is lurking behind all of that protective gear.

Then it’s time for rounds at this small, suburban hospital on Houston’s north side. Dr. Joseph Varon, the hospital’s chief of medicine, leads the team.

The COVID-19 wing is sealed off from the rest of the hospital.

Beyond a plastic curtain, there’s a different, more dangerous world. Coronavirus is literally in the air, and behind it is what most of us never see. The pain behind the case numbers. Patients like 57-year-old Faye Edwards.

“I feel a little ­better than I did a week ago,” Edwards said.

Edwards said she is convinced she contracted the virus in a crowded Houston grocery store last week.

“Stay home. Stay home,” Edwards said. “Stay where you’re safe. Stay where you’re healthy.”