Harris County invests $11 million for emergency healthcare facility at NRG park amid coronavirus pandemic

HOUSTON – Harris County and Houston officials said the region is ready for the potential worst-case scenario if the healthcare system becomes overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic.

So far, officials said the healthcare system has remained within capacity. Officials created the pop-up medical shelter at NRG Park to serve as a back-up if the hospitals' surge capacity is exceeded.

"Let us hope that we don't need that," Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said at the press conference Saturday afternoon.

“I hope we never have to use the medical facility, but it is better to prepare in case there is an increase in positive Coronavirus cases," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said. "I also want to thank the federal government for helping us double our testing capacity in both the city and county. We need more testing, especially in high poverty areas and in vulnerable communities.”

Harris County Commissioners Court unanimously voted to allocate up to $60M for medical shelter at NRG Park. Hidalgo said the county invested $11 million into the facility.

FEMA has committed to reimburse the county 75% of the cost up to $177 million for the medical facility.

Hidalgo said the 250-bed facility is ready after construction began earlier this week.

The county has secured the needed healthcare equipment, created systems and procedures, and employed doctors, nurses and experts, to respond if the overhaul is necessary.