Heights | River Oaks | Montrose Edition - June 2020

HEIGHTS RIVER OAKS MONTROSE EDITION 2020 HEALTHCARE EDITION VOLUME XX, ISSUE XX  XXXXXXXXXX, 2020

ONLINE AT

VOLUME 2, ISSUE 3  JUNE 3JULY 7, 2020

Anetwork of support

From testing to food drives, Montrose’s network of LGBTQ-focused nonprots and businesses have stepped up to assist thosewhomay bemore vulnerable to COVID19 throughout Houston.

PHOTOS COURTESY THE MONTROSE CENTER, MONTROSE GRACE PLACE AND LEGACY COMMUNITY HEALTH

IMPACTS

6

F EED I NG HOMEL E S S YOUTH

Volunteers at Montrose Grace Place give out over 100meals per week.

T E S T I NG FOR & MANAG I NG H I V

“ I have heard from a number of patients who feel that this is a second epidemic for them. They survived the rst epidemic of HIV and are now worried about surviving the second pandemic of COVID19. ... It’s hitting very close to home again. ” JENNIFER HADAYIA, PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR AT LEGACY COMMUNITY HEALTH

TRANSPORTATION

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2020

HEALTH

PROT EC T I NG MENTA L HE A LTH

The Montrose Center has received $392,000 in coronavirus-related donations and grant funding for LBGTQ support services.

EDITION CARE

Montrose nonprots address LGBTQ community facing added COVID19 risks

BY EMMA WHALEN

tune in while staying home to serve clients of the LGBTQ-focused center who need a safe place for care. “Some people are not out at home, and so they’re not comfortable because they don’t have private space to use the phone or a computer,”

Communication Manager Austin Davis Ruiz said. The unique approach oered by the Montrose Center is one of many innovations LGBTQ-focused organiza- tions in the area are using to meet the CONTINUED ON 16

SNAPSHOT

9

At The Montrose Center, a small room with a sanitized computer and desk now serves as a makeshift coun- seling oce. During the coronavirus outbreak, counselors and other service providers

As the July 14 primary runo election approaches in Texas, several lawsuits are playing out across the state over who does and does not get to vote by mail during the coronavirus pandemic. Lawsuits in both state and federal courts have been led with the goal of ensuring any registered voter who lacks immunity to the coronavirus can vote by mail. However, as CONTINUED ON 18 Safety, security debates ensue over voting during coronavirus BY SHAWN ARRAJJ

VOTING BY MAIL Voting rights advocates are looking to expand who can vote by mail. Until then, mail ballots are limited to:

HOSPITAL LISTINGS

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will not be in county on election day

65 or older disabled inmate in county jail

CAUSE FOR DEBATE: Lawsuits in Texas are challenging who can and

cannot claim disability during the pandemic SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICECOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

WE’RE STILL HERE for Your Orthopedic Care

COVID-19 UPDATE – We are committed to you, even during these challenging times. Our orthopedic specialists are available to safely see patients virtually or in person , as needed.

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HEIGHTS - RIVER OAKS - MONTROSE EDITION • JUNE 2020

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YOUR HEALTH IS A LOT OF THINGS. THE ONE THING IT ISN’T, IS ON HOLD.

No virus can weaken our mission.

• Cleaning all our facilities to an enhanced extent • Limiting the number of visitors • Requiring masks for all patients and staff • Screening everyone entering our care sites • Enforcing social distancing inside • Requiring COVID-19 testing prior to procedures

At St. Luke’s Health, we’re resuming the scheduling of appointments and procedures. And we’re doing it safely. Our thorough approach determines which procedures can safely be performed, where, and when. These are the steps we’re taking to make it happen:

Staying on top of your health has never been more important, whether it’s an ongoing health concern, a routine checkup, or a procedure. Don’t let social distancing stop you and don’t wait until it becomes an emergency. Talk with your doctor about scheduling an appointment. For more information, visit us online at chistlukeshealth.org/here-always.

Here, always.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS IMPACTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

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Now Open, Coming Soon &more TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES 7 METRORapid Silver Line GOVERNMENT 8 Houston budget

FROMNICOLE: As our community struggles with the challenges of reopening, our editorial team brings you hyperlocal coverage that looks at how the coronavirus is aecting some of the vulnerable populations in the area. This month we launch our annual Health Care Edition showcasing area health resources and statistics. Join the conversation online and keep sending your questions and feedback. Nicole Ray, GENERALMANAGER

MARKET TEAM GENERAL MANAGER Nicole Ray, nray@communityimpact.com SENIOR EDITOR Matt Dulin CITY HALL REPORTER Emma Whalen SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Anya Gallant ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Keenan Porter METRO LEADERSHIP ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Kristina Shackelford MANAGING EDITOR Marie Leonard ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Tessa Hoee CORPORATE LEADERSHIP PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Lanane CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman WHOWE ARE John and Jennifer Garrett began Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 in Pugerville, TX. The company's mission is to build informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Today we operate across six metropolitan areas, providing hyperlocal, nonpartisan news produced by our full-time journalists in each community we serve. BECOMEA#COMMUNITYPATRON Please join your friends and neighbors in support of Community Impact Newspaper’s legacy

HealthCareEdition

SNAPSHOT

9

Harris County health care trends

FROMMATT: Amid the outbreak, there is one thing that might have slipped outside your radar: the July runo elections from this March’s primary season. These elections could serve as a prototype for how November could go, with contentious court cases deciding how democracy will work when social distancing is the new normal. Matt Dulin, SENIOR EDITOR

THIS ISSUE BY THE NUMBERS

HOSPITAL LISTINGS

10

Local sources 19

Businesses coming soon 3

Health care facilities 20

CLINIC & ER LISTINGS CORONAVIRUS BRIEFS HEALTHY TODO LIST INSIDE INFORMATION

11 12 13 14

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HEIGHTS  RIVER OAKS  MONTROSE EDITION • JUNE 2020

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

COMPILED BY MATT DULIN

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290

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W. 20TH ST.

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W. 19TH ST.

W. 18TH ST.

2

15TH ST.

HOUSTON

Bayou City Seafood and Pasta

MATT DULIN/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

WHITE OAK PARK

2

WHITE OAK DR.

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SUMMER ST.

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MEMORIAL PARK

BUFFALO BAYOU PARK

Kin Dee

L L E N P K W Y .

COURTESY MICHAEL ANTHONY/KIN DEE

W. GRAY ST.

610

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MAP NOT TO SCALE N TM; © 2020 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

215 Westheimer Road

COURTESY DAVIS COMMERCIAL

NOWOPEN 1 Bayou City Seafood and Pasta began dine-in service in its long-awaited new building at 4712 Richmond Ave., Houston, on May 19. It offered to-go service at its former location of 30 years in the same shopping center area on Richmond, just outside the Afton Oaks neighborhood. The restaurant offers a bevy of seafood options, including crawfish, frog legs, gumbo and other Cajun-style favorites, along with a range of entrees and special- ties. 713-621-6602. www.bayoucityseafood.net 2 Thai restaurant Kin Dee opened May 22 at 1533 N. Shepherd Drive, Ste. 160, Houston. Founded by Lukkaew Sras- risuwan and Miranda Loetkhamfu, the restaurant draws on four food regions of Thailand—northern, southern, northeast and central. The restaurant will open in compliance with social distancing and other policies to ensure cleanliness, ac- cording to a news release. 281-826-2655. www.kindeethaicuisine.com 3 The milk tea shop 7 Leaves Cafe opened its second Houston location at 3825 Richmond Ave., Houston, on May 11. The tea shop also sells coffee and matcha with optional drink add-ons. As of mid-

May, the shop was offering to-go orders only. 713-814-8149. www.7leavescafe.com COMING SOON 4 Roast N Brew , a new local cof- fee shop, is under construction at 931 W. 19th St., Houston, with an August opening date planned. The independent- ly owned coffeehouse is managed by a father-daughter team and will offer a Eu- ropean flair, with wine and beer options in addition to coffee-based beverages. www.roastnbrewhouse.com 5 Velvet Taco received permits in March to begin work preparing its new lo- cation at 2626 W. Loop S., Houston. The location was announced in summer 2019 with a potential 2020 opening. www.velvettaco.com 6 Acme Oyster House , a New Orle- ans-based restaurant chain, plans to take over the former El Real restaurant space at 1201 Westheimer Road, though an opening date was not shared.

liquor store chain acquired Richard’s locations several years ago. Two Richard’s remain in Houston, including one at 2545 Kirby Drive, Houston. 713-529-4849.

10 In a partnership with Rooftop Cin- ema Club, Sawyer Yards , 2301 Summer St., Houston, launched drive-in movies May 12, with screenings throughout the month selling out. More June screen- ings are planned. On-site concessions are available with online ordering and contactless pickup. Pickup orders are also available at Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. Tickets are $28 to $35 per vehicle. www.rooftopcinemaclub.com/houston CLOSINGS 11 All locations of Pier 1 Imports , including 1927 W. Gray St., will soon close permanently, according to a May 19 news release. The closure will come after the company sells off its remaining inventory and assets after failing to secure a buyer that would have allowed it to continue operating. www.pier1.com 12 The Montrose-area pizzeria Dolce Vita , 500 Westheimer Road, Houston, closed May 24 after selling its property, according to a Facebook post May 14. “For now, we don’t have any plans to reopen, but never say never,” the owners wrote in their closing announcement. The pizzeria, in business for 14 years, reopened to dine-in service May 1 by reservation only. 713-520-8222. www.dolcevitahouston.com

www.specsonline.com RENOVATIONS

8 Target received building permits May 15 for an estimated $6.45 million renovation for its new location coming to the former Randall’s at 2075 Westheimer Road, Houston. The store will have 63,000 square feet to work with in the new spot. It will be Target’s fourth Inner Loop location. www.target.com IN THE NEWS 9 A new mixed-use project at 215 Westheimer Road, Houston, began con- struction in May and is slated to finish by the end of 2020, according to a release by leasing firm Davis Commercial. The first floor will feature retail and restaurant space with outdoor patio seating, and the second floor will offer office and medical uses. The former structure at the location housed The Montrose Clinic, which became Legacy Community Health, from 1994-2011. www.davis-commercial.com

www.acmeoyster.com NAME CHANGE

7 The former Richard’s Liquors at 1900 S. Shepherd Drive, Houston, has been rebranded to Spec’s . The family-owned

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES

COMPILED BY MATT DULIN

The newMETRORapid service began testing along Post Oak Boulevard in May. The bus rapid transit service is the rst of its kind in Houston, and the transit agency expects to eventually have up to 75 miles of corridors dedicated to it. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)

Northwest Transit Center

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OLD KATY RD.

PROPOSED

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Downtown

TESTING

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Westpark/Lower Uptown Transit Center

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METRObegins testing newbus rapid transit line near Galleria A new transportation option that combines ele- ments of light rail and bus service has begun testing for a summer rollout, according to the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County. Called the METRORapid Silver Line, the expe- dited bus service runs along Post Oak Boulevard from the Northwest Transit Center at 7373 Old Katy Road, Houston, to the Westpark/Lower Uptown

Transit Center, at 5105 Westpark Drive, Houston, through the Galleria area, according to METRO’s website. Both centers are under construction. METRO began testing the week of May 4, including its METRORapid vehicles for clearance around trees, entry and egress at every cross street, platform approach, signal operation and more, according to METRO. The rst phase of testing is scheduled to run through mid-to-late June, with a subsequent sec- ondary testing phase with METRORapid vehicles performing simulated service. Revenue service is

tentatively scheduled to begin in mid-August. The METRORapid service, according to METRO, oers faster service. Under the $7.5 billion MET- RONext plan backed by voters in November, the service will expand to 75 miles of lanes throughout the city over the next 20 years, with the next project expected to connect downtown to the Northwest Transit Center along I-10. The Hous- ton-Galveston Area Council is backing that project with $420 million, with an expected construction date in scal year 2024-25.

PROPOSED PROJECT

ONGOING PROJECT

ing began work May 1 on Phase 1, which will address the three sections north of San Felipe Street. Eventually, all nine esplanades will be restored. The project includes installing reclaimed brick pav- ers, leveling and grading the surface, adding low hedges and planting roses, similar to the display seen at the River Oaks Country Club. The eort began two years ago, prompted by foundation board member Chris O’Sullivan. Funds raised since that time will cover the rst phase of the project, but more support is needed to complete all phases and put a maintenance fund in place. Timeline: May 2020-TBD Cost: $5 million Funding source: donations to the River Oaks Foundation

through the Neighborhood Trac Man- agement Program. Public comments were gathered from residents in April, and the project will move forward if Public Works ocials determine there is a majority of resident support. Council Member Karla Cisneros agreed to fund the $40,000 project through council district service funds, which do not require council approval. A construction timeline could not be shared as of press time. Timeline: TBD Cost: $40,000 Funding source: Houston City Council District H service funds

Proposed speed bump

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First Ward trac calming Five years after submitting its rst pe- titions to the city, First Ward residents may soon see speed bumps installed to address high-speed cut-through trac

River Oaks Boulevard restoration The River Oaks Foundation has launched an eort to restore the neigh- borhood’s signature esplanades along River Oaks Boulevard. Moss Landscap-

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF MAY 18. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT HRMNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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HEIGHTS  RIVER OAKS  MONTROSE EDITION • JUNE 2020

GOVERNMENT Coronavirus fallout threatens Houston’s budget reserves

D I P P I N G I N T O S A V I N G S

Houston financial policy requires the city to maintain 7.5% of its annual expenses in reserve. Since 2011, the city has been able to stay above the threshold. For fiscal year 2020-21, however, the savings could dip as low as 2.1%, according to one projection.

BY EMMA WHALEN

7.5% reserve threshold

‘Why didn’t you tell us that it could be this bad?’” Even with optimistic projections, Turner proposes using $98 million from reserves, including tapping the remainder of the city’s $20 million emergency economic stabilization fund. In previous budget cycles, the fund had been used for immediate relief during natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey. “There is no rainy day fund,” Turner said. “As we approach the hurricane season, the economic sta- bilization fund is down to zero, which places us in a precarious state.” Filling in gaps In addition to the employee fur- loughs—which are proposed to begin July 1, requiring 10 unpaid days per employee and saving $7 million—the city also plans to defer five police cadet classes, saving another $14 million. The furloughs do not apply to current members of the police, fire or solid waste departments. “I regret that we’re having to do this, but we are obligated to balance our budget,” Turner said. “We’re not laying off any employees, and we’ve tried to avoid doing that, but at the same time, most of our budget is in personnel.” Brown said furloughs are a fairly standard practice while managing an economic downturn; however, they may have been avoidable if the city had worked to reduce its deficit and build reserves during previous budget cycles. “In May of 2019, it was boom time. We should have been adding to reserves.” Brown said. “In the times we have really robust revenues, you should add to your savings account. In the last budget cycle we really drew the fund balance down to the bare minimum.” Turner said he is also eyeing ways the city can receive approval from federal officials to use more Coro- navirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding on payroll for city employees who have worked in response to the outbreak. As of Community Impact Newspaper ’s press time, no additional funding from the

Fund balance projections

$350M

As economic burdens from the coronavirus outbreak continue to mount, Mayor Sylvester Turner called Houston’s fiscal year 2020-21 proposed budget the “toughest yet” in an announcement of its details May 12. The proposed $5.1 billion budget calls for 3,000 city employee fur- loughs and for pulling $98 million from savings, which would put the city below its mandatory 7.5% min- imum held in reserves. The efforts aim to close a pending $169 million budget shortfall. Houston is only permitted to dip below its 7.5% in its fund balance in the event of economic instability beyond the city’s control, city policies state. “I DON’T LIKE HAVING THIS TALKABOUT DISASTROUS FINANCIAL CONSEQUENCES FOR THE CITY, BUT I FEEL LIKE IFWE DON’T HAVE IT NOW, IN 12 OR 18 MONTHS, WE’RE GOING TO BE HAVING THE SAME MEETING, AND YOUALL ARE GOING TO SAY, ‘WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL US THAT IT COULD BE THIS BAD?’” CHRIS BROWN, CITY CONTROLLER City Controller Chris Brown, who serves as an independent check on the finance department, said the administration’s post-outbreak outlook was too optimistic. While a city projection put the ending fund balance for FY 2020-21 at 7.15%, Brown predicts sustained sales tax revenue losses and other economic factors could push it to a historic low of 2.1%. “I don’t like having this talk about disastrous financial consequences for the city,” Brown told council members May 20. “But I feel like if we don’t have it now, in 12 or 18 months, we’re going to be having the same meeting, and you all are going to say,

$280M

$210M

$152.5M

$140M

$70M

$45M

$0

'21

'11 '12 '13 '14 '15 '16 '17 '18 '19 '20

Fiscal year

federal government was secured, and no additional flexibility was used for the original funds. Sales tax slump The cumulative impact of the pandemic-related economic down- turn on Houston’s sales tax revenue is expected to total $107 million over both FY 2019-20 and FY 2020-21, according to the city’s projections. However, by the end of FY 2020- 21 the city finance department is budgeting for only a slight overall dip in sales tax revenue of 0.74%. Brown’s trends report presents a significant departure from the city’s models showing a 9.96% drop in sales tax revenue. During last year’s budget cycle, which was marred by a different financial crisis brought on by the city’s ongoing firefighter pay raise dispute, Brown’s projection of the ending fund balance was just 0.9 percentage points lower than the city’s projection. Houston relies heavily on sales tax revenue because of a mandated cap on property tax revenue growth. In FY 2019-20, sales tax was budgeted to bring in $695 million, making up 14% of the general fund used for core city services and personnel. The city’s voter-approved revenue cap, which has been in place since 2004, limits property tax revenue growth to 4.5% or a calculation that factors in inflation and population growth, whichever is less. While the taxable value of properties in the

CLOSING THE BUDGET GAP The city of Houston faces a $169 million shortfall heading into fiscal year 2020-21. Here are some proposed adjustments.

NEW REVENUE

$ 1 5 M I L L I O N

• New digital billboard fee • New garbage bin lease fee

BUDGET CUTS

• Defer five police cadet classes • Furlough 3,000 city employees • Deferred rent, debt and maintenance payments • Department reductions • Delay Houston Zoo payment $ 5 6 M I L L I O N

PULLED FROM SAV INGS

$ 9 8 M I L L I O N

SOURCE: CITY OF HOUSTON/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

city grew by nearly 8% in 2019, the revenue cap dictates that the city can only collect 2.3% more revenue from property taxes in 2020, Houston Finance Director Tantri Emo said in a presentation to Houston City Council members. City models estimated Houston would have collected an additional $186 million without the cap. The budget is subject to City Council review and vote in June. FY 2020-21 begins July 1.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER IS PROUD TO SAY THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSOR

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HEALTH EDITION 2020 CARE

Harris Health System is a fully- integrated healthcare system caring for all residents of Harris County, with 14 health centers, eight school-based clinics, a dental and dialysis center, mobile health units, and three hospitals.

Health CareDirectory 2020

Data and information on health care trends in Harris County

COMPILED BY MATT DULIN

HEALTH CARE SNAPSHOT HARRI S COUNTY

Harris County’s health indicators show some weak areas, with low rankings in socioeconomic factors, which include measures of poverty and education, and it is ranked last in Texas for physical environment, which includes air quality and the prevalence of commuting.

CORONAVIRUS CASE ANALYSIS

HOWHEALTHY IS YOUR COUNTY?

After experiencing a surge in mid-April, new case counts have leveled o even as testing has ramped up in Harris County, but an uptick began in mid-May.

HARRISCOUNTY

These rankings are updated annually but include data from previous years. There are other factors included that are not listed below.

45

CASE BREAKDOWN

NEW CORONAVIRUS CASES PER WEEK

Harris County

March 16- March 22 17

HEALTH OUTCOMES INCLUDE:

Active cases 6,379

• LENGTHOFLIFE • QUALITYOFLIFE , such as the number of poor mental and physical health days reported

99 TOLL

March 30- March 23- March 29

418

10

Total cases: 10,995

221 Deaths

69

April 5 839 April 6- April 12 2,277 April 13- April 19 1,092 April 20- April 26 975 April 27- May 3 1,080 May 4- May 10 1,095 May 11- May 17 1,323 May 18- May 24 1,644

N

4,395 Recoveries

HEALTH FACTORS INCLUDE:

• HEALTHBEHAVIORS , such as smoking, obesity, physical activity, excessive drinking, alcohol-impaired driving deaths, sexually transmitted infections and teen births • CLINICALCARE , including health insurance coverage; number of physicians, dentists and mental health providers; preventable hospital stays; and u vaccinations • SOCIOECONOMICFACTORS , such as educational attainment levels, children in poverty, income inequality and violent crimes • PHYSICALENVIRONMENTFACTORS , such as air pollution, drinking water violations, housing problems and long commutes

2020 STATEWIDE HEALTH CARE RANKINGS (out of 244 counties)

Cases per 100,000 residents

Deaths per 100,000 residents

23 68 151 72 64 32

233.27

4.69

Health outcomes

Length of life

CASES BY AGE

Quality of life Health factors Health behaviors

0-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 70-79 80-89

318

556

1,855

2,266

2,071

Clinical care

1,783

190 244

Socioeconomic

1,218

564

Physical environment

360

H A R R I S C O U N T Y : PHYSICIANS ANDNURSES

KEY:

77007 66 77006 66 77008 60 77019 47 77027 27 77046 3 77098 19

HEIGHTS, RIVER OAKS, AND MONTROSE CASES PER ZIP CODE

610

0-19 20-39 40-59 60-79

45

77008

The county has added over 2,400 nurses and 180 primary care physicians since 2017, but it still lagged in rankings because the county’s population grew faster.

10

77007

Key:

Physicians

Registered nurses

77019

77027

77006

SOURCES: ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN POPULATION HEALTH INSTITUTE, COUNTYHEALTHRANKINGS.ORG, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES, HARRIS COUNTYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Total 2017 2018 2019

Per 100,000 residents

State rank

69

4,122 43,487 4,209 44,782 4,303 45,946

89 938.5 89.2 949.5 88 940.1

21 27 23 27 33 30

N

2017 2018 2019

2017 2018 2019

77046

77098

All coronavirus data is up to date as of press time May 27. For updated coronavirus data and information, go to communityimpact.com.

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HEIGHTS  RIVER OAKS  MONTROSE EDITION • JUNE 2020

HOSPITALS

Information on local hospitals in Heights, Rivers Oaks & Montrose

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20TH ST.

T. C. JESTER BLVD.

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The Heights Hospital

River Oaks Hospital and Clinics

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PHOTOS BY MATT DULINCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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• Trauma level: III • NICU level: II • Total number of employees: 1,400 • Number of beds: 260 • New programs, expansions: A new heartburn and acid reux program is in place to help treat patients with specialized care and a surgical option called Linx. 3 River Oaks Hospital and Clinics 4200 Twelve Oaks Place, Houston • Trauma level: IV • NICU level: N/A • Total number of employees: 130 • Number of beds: 12 • New programs, expansions: Opened in December, the hospital has a full diagnostics suite including MRI, CT, Ultrasound, X-ray and mammography. 7139807900 www.rohc.care

COMPILED BY MATT DULIN 1 The Heights Hospital 1917 Ashland St., Houston 8323771900 www.theheightshospital.com • Trauma level: N/A • NICU level: N/A • Total number of employees: 120 • Number of beds: 50 • New programs, expansions: The hospital is developing plans for expansion, including a full imaging center and urgent care as well as construction of an oce tower and parking garage in 2021. 2 Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital 1635 N. Loop W., Houston 7138672000 www.memorialhermann.org/locations/ greater-heights

WHITE OAK PARK

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TWELVE OAKS PL. 3

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IT’S NOT OVER YET. Stay strong, Houston. It’s working.

Social distancing, frequent handwashing and avoiding exposure is slowing the spread of COVID-19. But we can’t let up now. Hang in there—for your family, for your neighbors and for our heroes on the front lines. No one wants to celebrate with hugs and high-fives more than we do. Until then, thanks for doing your part to keep us all safer. We’re all in this TOGETHER.

10

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

CLINICS AND ERS

Health Care Edition 2020

COMPARING CARE There are several dierences between the three types of facilities. These breakdowns are general and may not apply to every facility listed, and costs will vary based on insurance. Contact each facility for the specic services oered. SOURCES: TED CHAN, CEO OF HEALTH CARE DIRECTORY, CAREDASHCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER *WITH INSURANCE

RETAI L CL INI CS

URGENT CARE CL INI CS

FREE STANDING EMERGENCY ROOMS

Can treat: minor conditions, such as the u, strep throat, colds, minor cuts and skin conditions Stang: nurse practitioners and physicians assistants Equipment: can provide immunizations and physicals; can draw blood and swab for labs but will need to send tests out; pharmacies located in the same building Estimated cost: typically $25-$40* 7138809800 www.concentra.com 8 enTrust Immediate Care 5535 Memorial Drive, Ste. B, Houston 8326481172 www.entrustcare.com 9 Memorial Hermann Urgent Care 300 North Loop, Ste. 100, Houston 7134269650 www.memorialhermann.org/urgentcare 10 Memorial Hermann Urgent Care 4500 Washington Ave., Ste. 100, Houston 7138616490 www.memorialhermann.org/urgentcare 11 Memorial Hermann Convenient Care 1431 Studemont St., Houston 3467013800 www.memorialhermann.org/convenient- care-centers/ 12 Texas Children’s Urgent Care 2200 Yale St., Ste. 110, Houston 7138616104 www.texaschildrensurgentcare.org Freestanding ER 13 Houston Methodist Emergency Care 2615 Southwest Freeway, Ste. 140, Houston 7134412779 www.houstonmethodist.org 14 Memorial Heights Emergency Center 4000 Washington Ave., Ste. 100, Houston 2818538413 www.mhehc.com 15 River Oaks Emergency Room 2320 S. Shepherd Drive, Houston

Can treat: the same conditions as retail clinics as well as broken bones, stitches and burns Stang: nurse practitioners and physicians assistants, but more likely to have medical doctor on sta than retail clinics Equipment: may have X-ray, ultrasound and on-site lab test equipment on-site Estimated cost: typically $35-$100*

Can treat: life-threatening conditions, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, severe burns, head or spinal trauma, serious broken bones and sports injuries Stang: medical doctors and surgeons Equipment: X-ray, ultrasound, CT

scanners, laboratory services Estimated cost: $500-plus*

17

Noncomprehensive listings of local urgent care clinics, retail clinics and emergency rooms

290

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20TH ST.

Retail clinic 1 MinuteClinic 1003 Richmond Ave., Houston 7138078491 www.cvs.com 2 RediClinic Montrose 1701 W Alabama St., Houston 8334237334 COMPILED BY MATT DULIN

T. C. JESTER BLVD.

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STUDEMONT ST.

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www.rediclinic.com Urgent care 3 AFC Urgent Care 107 Yale St., Ste. 200, Houston 7135613546 www.afcurgentcare.com 4 CareNow Urgent Care 102 W. 11th St., Houston 8325394707 www.carenow.com 5 CareNow Urgent Care 1917 W. Gray St., Houston 8322600650 www.carenow.com 6 CareNow Urgent Care 2707 Milam St., Houston 8326327135 www.carenow.com 7 Concentra Urgent Care 9200 Hempstead Road, Ste. 137, Houston

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BUFFALO BAYOU PARK

MEMORIAL PARK

8

45

W. GRAY ST.

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17 The Heights Emergency Room 101 North Loop West, Houston 7135880320 www.houstonheightser.com

7135262320 www.villageec.com 16 SignatureCare Emergency Center 1925 E. T. C. Jester Blvd., Houston 8327420072 www.ercare24.com

◌ Direct access to your personal physician ◌ Convenient scheduling ◌ No-wait appointments & virtual visits ◌ Exclusive lab discounts ◌ Affordable individual, family, and small business memberships ◌ Transparent pricing without the need for insurance

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721 E 14th St. • www.vidafamilydpc.com • 713.766.4496 SE HABLA ESPAÑOL CALL TODAY AND MEET DR. BERENS

11

HEIGHTS  RIVER OAKS  MONTROSE EDITION • JUNE 2020

CORONAVIRUS BRIEFS Houston, HarrisCountyhiring up to600contact tracers

CITY AND COUNTY HIGHLIGHTS Houston City Council meetings began meeting virtually May 19, just over a week after Letitia Plummer, At-Large Position 4 City Council member, tested positive for the coronavirus, the first confirmed case among Houston City Council members. Harris County The county resumed marriage license services May 18 by appointment only at the downtown office, 201 Caroline St., Room 745, Houston. Harris County In a bid to offer tax relief amid the economic fallout of the virus, Commissioners Court on May 19 voted to expand property tax exemptions for seniors and those with disabilities to $229,000 from $160,000. Houston The city committed May 7 to having 23 fixed and mobile testing sites by the end of May, with mobile testing beginning in “high priority” ZIP codes in north, northeast and south Houston. Prior to the announcement, the city had 11 sites total. As of May 27, the city had 14 sites listed. QUOTEOFNOTE "EVEN FROMAN ECONOMIC PERSPECTIVE, ITWILL BE FARWORSE FOROUR ECONOMY IFWE HAVE ANOTHER CRISIS—ONE THATMIGHT LEAD THE ECONOMY TOHAVE TO SHUT DOWNAGAIN.” HARRIS COUNTY JUDGE LINA HIDALGO, SPEAKING AFTER ANNOUNCING THAT THE COUNTY’S STAY AT HOME, WORK SAFE ORDER AND DISASTER DECLARATION WOULD BE EXTENDED TO JUNE 10, IN ALIGNMENT WITH STATE ORDERS.

HISD looking at several options for 2020-21 school year

BY EMMA WHALEN

BY MATT DULIN

Director Dr. David Persse said. “At the end of the day, it’s the individ- ual’s responsibility. No matter how big we make the army, we can’t sit outside of your house and make sure you follow the rules.” As statewide restrictions on business closures ease, Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city will need to monitor case counts to avoid another spike in infections. “Testing, contact tracing and individual responsibility, hope- fully, will help so that we don’t face what we faced in March and April and we don’t have to enforce work- safe orders again,” Turner said. The tracers are being funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. million allocation of federal Coro- navirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security funding, offered to pay up to $1,056 for each month of missed rent payment in April or May. Turner said the high number of people applying for the program indicated that an additional relief program will be needed; however, he had not committed any addi- tional funding toward it as of press time. “We know the need far exceeds the resources, which is all the more reason to advocate for more on the congressional level,” he said.

Rental assistance programtapped out in90minutes In May, the Houston Health Department and Harris County officials launched efforts to deploy 600 contact tracers to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 cases, and more than 3,000 people applied for Houston’s 300 positions. Contact tracers identify and reach out to those who may have been exposed to an infected individual to trace the spread of the coronavirus, but officials said individuals who test positive must also be responsible and take steps to self-isolate. “They will need to follow the advice of the public health folks who call them so they don’t spread the virus,” Emergency Medicine

Houston ISD is prepared to continue virtual learning throughout the 2020-21 school year, but it is also looking at extended school days, block scheduling, a year-round calendar and other options, interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan told reporters May 15. The district’s decision could come by mid-June and hinges in part on guidance from the Texas Education Agency, Lathan said, particularly around counting attendance in a hybrid or virtual model. “If we were to make a recommen- dation to become a year-round dis- trict, the board would need to accept that,” Lathan said. “We are starting to engage our stakeholders ... around the option of not only a possible year- round designation, but extending the school day 30 minutes next school year beginning in August.” For the 2020-21 school year, the district is evaluating block scheduling and allowing parents the option to keep their children at home. The school year begins the fourth Monday in August, Aug. 24, a date the district cannot change unless it adopts a year-round designation or becomes a District of Innovation, a process endorsed by the board of trustees, though the status would not take effect until 2021 if it is adopted. Summer school will be held virtually from June 8-July 2, with 45,000 students expected to attend, Lathan said.

BY EMMA WHALEN

Over 30,000 people were await- ing the application portal for Hous- ton’s rental assistance program before it opened at 10 a.m. May 13, Mayor Sylvester Turner said. The city was only able to accept the first 12,000 applications. The program, formed using $15 million out of Houston’s $404

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12

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TODO LIST

Health Care Edition 2020

Health Care Edition

BY MATT DULIN 4WAYS to stay in good health

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EXPLORE THE NEIGHBORHOOD

TAKE CONTROL OF THE CLOCK

Not only does going outside oer the opportunity for exercise, it could also bolster social and civic health. “Walking around our neighborhood is a true gift, connecting us to community and a sense of the outdoors, which we might have taken for granted in the past,” said Heather Houston, the executive director for Scenic Houston, which helps government and civic groups improve their streetscapes. “If you’re lucky, you’re experiencing an enjoyable walk on a safe, landscaped, nice sidewalk without obstructions. ... But not everyone is so lucky.” With more people out and about, they are noticing areas that may not be friendly for walking and biking, she said, which hopefully means more neighborhood advocates will start asking for improvements. The dierence between a community with good walkable areas and those without often comes down to being well organized and advocating for funding, she said. “I hope there’s a silver lining in all this, that we all grow to appreciate our neighborhood community,” Houston said. “Individuals, when they get together, can make a huge dierence.”

Managing the use of time and being realistic with expectations are mental health game-changers that, if people can master during the coronavirus, will pay o in the long run, said Ceci Hudson Torn, licensed professional counselor and co-founder of Ethos Behavioral Health Group, which manages the Lovett Center in Montrose. “Pre-pandemic, many of the things that provided us structure was changing location—going to the oce, going to a restaurant. Now that structure needs to be internal,” she said. Calendar apps can be used to block hours of the day dedicated to work, home and social needs. For children, a whiteboard with a daily or weekly schedule can help provide a sense of routine and prevent chaos. When developing a system, keep expectations in check to prevent a pileup of anxiety and the feeling of underperforming, she said. “Some of us, we’re managing work at home, managing the household 24/7 and meal prepping, and managing full-time parenting, and home schooling all at once,” Torn said. “Just have a ton of self- compassion and exibility with ourselves. No one person can do all these things well.”

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DISCOVER A NEWPARK

BRING THE OUTDOORS IN

With the option of remote work allowing more people to stay at home, potentially even beyond the pandemic, adding touches of nature can improve the immediate environment and oer health benets. “Nothing beats houseplants to make your home cozy,” said Joshua Kornegay, the owner of Joshua’s Native Plants in the Heights for almost 30 years. “It not only lowers your blood pressure, it cleanses the air; it releases oxygen. Your house will smell fresher, and you’ll breathe easier.” Snake plants are a popular indoor option that do well in any kind of light and do not need much watering or special soils, he said, with the added bonus of being the most prolic plants for producing oxygen. There is also the ddle leaf g, often a xture in oce buildings, that is known for thriving indoors. Once the home starts turning green, look to the front yard and backyard, too, Kornegay said. “There’s nothing better for the soul than putting your hands in the earth,” he said.

While Houston’s Inner Loop oers several iconic parks such as Hermann Park and Memorial Park, these have also become overcrowded on weekends with nice weather despite social distancing orders. “We’ve known how essential parks are to the health of communities ... but they are even more crucial as people are trying to cope and stay healthy. It’s heartening to see,” said Beth White, president and CEO of the Houston Parks Board. That said, White encourages all parkgoers to practice social distancing and to explore Houston’s sprawling parks and trails system with over 360 parks citywide. “We have room for people to spread out. We have greenways, trails, bike lanes, sidewalks, parks,” she said. One feature to explore is the city’s Bayou Greenways, which are nearing completion of an eight-year, $220 million investment that put 1.5 million Houstonians within 1.5 miles of a trail and greenway. Find the Bayou Greenways map at www.houstonparksboard.org.

Learn more about local streetscape eorts at www.scenichouston.org. Heights Anxiety and Depression Center No matter how hard your past, you can always begin again Telehealth and Face to Face Sessions Individual, Couples, Family, and Group Therapy Licensed and Experienced Therapists Contact us Today! 832-940-2352 or info@heightsadc.com

13

HEIGHTS  RIVER OAKS  MONTROSE EDITION • JUNE 2020

INSIDE INFORMATION

COMPILED BY MATT DULIN, HUNTER MARROW & BEN THOMPSON

A PATH TO PROTECTION

As worldwide health care experts work to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus, several local eorts are also underway on a vaccine.

PRODUCING A VACCINE

Dr. Bottazzi described the steps in vaccine production from the rst stage of research to mass production. From start to nish, the process can take about 18 months or more.

Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi, associate dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, spoke with Community Impact Newspaper about vaccine development and the medical community’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. DR. MARIA ELENABOTTAZZI Q&A WITH

The entity researching the vaccine must rst secure funding to proceed.

The researchers determine which part of a virus the vaccine should target and build a vaccine around the relevant protein.

The product is sent into preclinical toxicology evaluations by a clinical research organization. They ensure the material is safe through animal models before obtaining approval to move trials to humans. Human studies on healthy adult volunteers begin to ensure safety and eectiveness. Regulatory approval includes a review of procedures, reproducibility and trial results.

WHAT IS THE OUTLOOK ON THE PRODUCTIONOF A COVID19 VACCINE?

INSIDE THE BODY

I think it’s clear that there are many vaccines that are hopefully going to be evaluated soon. ... It’s good to have a robust pipeline, meaning we’re not just assuming that one [vaccine] is going to be the only one that’s going to be a solution for all. Vaccines certainly have a high rate of failure due to the nature of how you de- velop them and what the expectation of a vaccine [is], which of course is a preventative measure.

A vaccine creates immunity by preparing the body to attack a protein similar in structure to that of the virus.

Vaccines include a manufactured protein that mimics the viral protein.

The immune system builds defenses to attack the protein in the vaccine.

HOWMUCH IS THE TESTING PHASE EXPECTED TO BE SPED UP NOW?

Because it’s not business as usual, the regulatory bodies are evaluating how they can allow certain things to maybe be done in parallel rather than sequentially. ... It’s going to be very dicult to skip a step. I don’t think that’s really going to be able to be done, but at least steps can be shortened by sharing the information just in time even though there are risks.

The body then has an immune response ready for that same type of protein if encountered in the virus.

Dr. Bottazzi said researchers are considering the coronavirus’ “spike” protein as the vaccine target to block the virus from interfering with a human cell.

WHAT ARE SOME RISKS ASSOCIATEDWITH ACCELERATED VACCINE DEVELOPMENT?

Industrial entities start mass production.

The rst thing you need to do is identify what within the pathogen is important enough you want to interfere with. ... Everyone is talking about interfering with the virus to be able to enter the human cells. And therefore we know the element within the virus that is essential for this activity to happen is this “spike” protein. ... A very small domain of that spike protein [is] enough for us to build a vaccine. And then what you do is you rep- licate that protein. ... When your body sees this foreign protein, the body knows it’s a foreign entity, and then we have an immune response. ... When you vaccinate, you’re vaccinating with something that resembles a very important piece of the pathogen. ... We then eventually get the virus, we remember they’re a foreign entity, and we already have an army ready to respond. HOWARE VACCINES PRODUCED? You are pressuring those who have to evaluate to make decisions that in a normal way of business you wouldn’t because you have more time. ... I trust 100% [in] our regulatory bodies. The people who conform the teams within the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration], for example, are teams that operate with their mission to ensure that their decisions are based on robust and strong scientic evidence. Not hearsay, not because they have to go fast. So I trust that process and that system. It’s challenging that they have to make this in an accelerated manner, but I think we as people have to trust at some level that they’re experts.

Multiple eorts are underway in Houston's research hospitals and biomedical industries to help develop vaccine candidates.

3 LOCAL COVID-19 VACCINE EFFORTS

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The National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor

The Baylor College of Medicine began recruiting for clinical trials in May to study whether one of the oldest tuberculosis vaccines still in use could also thwart COVID-19. “It is a very well-known and safe vaccine available now that might be able to work as a buer until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, which could take 18 months,” researcher Dr. Andrew DiNardo said in a news release. Studies have shown it reduces the rate of other infections besides TB, but the World Health Organization cautioned that these benets are limited and not well understood.

The Woodlands-based VGXI Inc., a plasmid DNA manufacturer, is part of a team developing a vaccine along with Pennsylvania-based Inovio Pharmaceuticals, an eort that began in January when the outbreak was rst beginning. Houston Methodist’s RNA therapeutics research program is also participating through a partnership with VGXI. An initial trial is expected to be complete by late summer.

College of Medicine and the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children's Hospital are developing a vaccine by building on work that was already underway on a coronavirus strain that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. The institutions have also partnered with PATH, a global public health nonprot to accelerate development into a Phase 1 clinical evaluation later this year, according to a May 5 press release. The nonprot will also help expand the potential reach of the vaccine into developing countries.

Total COVID-19 vaccine candidates worldwide SOURCE: MILKEN INSTITUTE COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

141

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