Bay Area Edition | June 2020

BAY AREA EDITION 2020 HEALTHCARE EDITION

ONLINE AT

VOLUME 2, ISSUE 11  JUNE 5JULY 9, 2020

Senior care adjusts toward post-pandemicworld League City resident Natalie Fremont said her family has felt left in the dark. Coronavirus outbreaks have occurred at several Bay Area skilled nursing facili- ties throughout the past two months, and Fremont’s grandmother lives in one of the two League City nursing homes with conrmed cases—but the family cannot nd out howmany. BY COLLEEN FERGUSON SENI RS Several senior living facilities in Galveston County have had coronavirus outbreaks since the pandemic began. AND COVID19 IN THE BAY AREA 45 146 646 The Resort at Texas City Friendship Haven Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center

IMPACTS

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42% More than of the cases in League City and

Ashton Parke Care Center

Galveston County released the com- bined total of conrmed cases for both area facilities, as it didwith outbreaks in twoTexasCitynursinghomes,making it impossible to tell howmany cases there were where Fremont’s grandmother lives. Relatives repeatedly attempted to obtain specics, Fremont said, but were eventually told by a social worker that county health department regulations prohibit releasing more information to families. Health department ocials did not respond to a request for further comment on the data. There is a feeling of unease, with rel- atives unable to visit loved ones or nd out exactly how at risk they are, Fre- mont said. “We have a very vulnerable set of population that is locked away; nobody can really check on them, and the peo- ple that have the ability to check on them are not being forthcoming,” she said. Galveston County’s coronavirus mor- tality rate is about 4.2%, twice as high

The Cottages at Clear Lake

519

Texas City are from nursing homes as of press time.

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Regent Care Center of League City

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League City 245 total cases

TRANSPORTATION

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220 Texas City

Total population: 39,300 8 cases at Friendship Haven Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center 49 Friendswood total cases

total cases

HEALTH CARE EDI T ION 2020

Total population: 106,200 104 cases at Regent Care Center of League City and The Cottages at Clear Lake

Total population: 47,900 92 cases at Ashton Parke Care Center and The Resort at Texas City

SPONSOREDBY • The Joint Chiropractic • UTMB Health Snapshot

11

12,000 residents 65 or older

7,200 residents 65 or older

6,000 residents 65 or older

CONTINUED ON 18

SOURCES: GALVESTON COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT, U.S. CENSUS BUREAUCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

“I DON’T LIKE HAVING THIS TALKABOUT DISASTROUS FINANCIAL CONSEQUENCES FOR THE CITY, 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, ‘WHYDIDN’T YOU TELL US THAT IT COULD BE THIS BAD?’” CHRIS BROWN, CITY CONTROLLER As economic burdens from the coronavirus outbreak continue to mount, Mayor Sylvester Turner called Houston’s scal year 2020-21 pro- posed budget the “toughest yet” in an announcement of its details May 12. The proposed $5.1 billion budget calls for 3,000 city employee furloughs Coronavirus fallout threatens Houston’s budget reserves CONTINUED ON 21 BY EMMA WHALEN

Hospital listings

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PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF HOUSTON

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

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BAY AREA EDITION • JUNE 2020

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

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

MARKET TEAM GENERAL MANAGER Cathy Turner, cturner@communityimpact.com EDITOR Jake Magee REPORTER Colleen Ferguson

FROMCATHY: Although the days may have gotten a little fuzzy since COVID-19 reared its ugly head in March, what is absolutely clear is Community Impact Newspaper ’s mission to inform citizens and help local businesses thrive. Take a look inside to nd useful, informative stories, such as our front-page story on how Houston’s budget shortfall might aect our community.

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Justin Howell ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Lara Estephan METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Jason Culpepper 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

Cathy Turner, GENERALMANAGER

FROMJAKE: There is no one more vulnerable to the coronavirus than senior citizens, and the elderly got hit hard by the pandemic, especially in the Bay Area. Read our front-page story to learn more about the outbreaks at senior living facilities and how senior care could change in the future as a result.

IMPACTS

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Now Open, Coming Soon &more TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES 9

HealthCareEdition

Jake Magee, EDITOR

SNAPSHOT 11 Health care trends in Harris, Galveston counties HOSPITAL LISTINGS 13 DEVELOPMENT 15 Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital expansion INSIDE INFORMATION 17 Producing a vaccine

THIS ISSUE BY THE NUMBERS

Local sources 17

Business reopenings 7

DNA strand 1

Health care stories 5

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CORRECTION: Volume 2, Issue 10 Residents come together around face mask making, Page 11 The Lakeview Quilters Guild helped Jane Sweeney make face masks that were donated to local medical centers and others. CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE All content in this print publication, both editorial and advertisements, was up- to-date as of the press deadline. Due to the fast-changing nature of this event, editorial and advertising information may have changed. Please visit communityimpact.com and advertiser websites for more information.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

IMPACTS

COMPILED BY COLLEEN FERGUSON AND JAKE MAGEE

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

CRENSHAW RD.

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re:3D

COURTESY RE:3D

BAY PORT BLVD.

ARMAND BAYOU NATURE CENTER

FEATURED IMPACT NOWOPEN On May 6, re:3D —a company at 1100 Hercules Ave., Ste. 220, Houston, that creates aordable, large-scale 3D printers—launched a new campaign called PPE for the People. The eort will create and provide 3D-printed personal protective equipment to essential workers in underserved populations in the Greater Houston area. 512-730-0033. www.re3d.org A its rst League City store this summer, cre- ating about 20 jobs. The 22,040-square- foot store will be located at 200 S. Gulf Freeway, League City, and is the company’s 30th in Texas and eighth in the Greater Houston area. The business will provide brand-name tools and equipment, a repair department, and cleaning and disinfectant equipment in response to COVID-19. www.northerntool.com 11 TheWoodhouse Day Spa will open its newest location at Baybrook Mall, 700 Baybrook Mall Drive, Friendswood, in early summer. The space will provide an escape for relaxation and pampering through a variety of services, ocials said. The spa will be taking extra precautions against COVID-19 and will follow all federal health and safety guidelines. In an eort to give back to the community, the spa is donating 20% of all gift card sales to Bay Area Turning Point. www.baybrook.woodhousespas.com 12 After closing all locations, Charming Charlie has paused its plans to open select locations throughout the country, includ- ing one in Baybrook Mall. The location was set to open in March, but plans are on hold indenitely as of mid-May. The business sells women’s clothing and accessories in a store with color-coordinated sections. www.charmingcharlie.com CLOSINGS 13 All locations of Pier 1 Imports , including two in the Bay Area at A 243 Marina Bay Drive, Kemah, and B 1255 Bay Area Blvd., Ste. A, Webster, will close permanently at an undetermined date. The company is preparing to go out of business “as soon as reasonably possible” after failing to secure a buyer that would have allowed it to continue operating. 281-538-4232, 281-557-9367.

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GALVESTON BAY

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BAYBROOK MALL DR GULF BROOK DR.

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

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REOPENINGS 1 Star Cinema Grill at the Baybrook Mall, 702 Baybrook Mall Drive, Friend- swood, reopened May 8, becoming one of the rst movie theaters in the area to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. The business has made several changes to its operations to minimize risk, such as reducing capacity and allowing customers to order food from an app. 281-557-9300. www.starcinemagrill.net 2 Helen Hall Library , 100 W. Walker St., League City, reopened May 18 with limited hours and services. Masks are required, only 50 people are allowed in at a time, and no in-person programs and outreach services are available. 281-554-1111. www.leaguecity.com/1277/helen- hall-library 3 Headz Up Haircuts , A 2121 W. Main St., Ste. B, League City, and B 2951 Marina Bay Drive, Ste. 190, League City, reopened May 8 on an appointment-only basis. The salon will use a system similar to how some restaurants have managed cus- tomers, where people can wait in their cars and receive a text or call once their chair is ready. The business specializes in men’s, women’s and children’s haircuts, fades and styles. 281-672-7103, 281-957-9112. www.headzuphaircuts.com

4 Adelaide’s Boutique , which has locations at A 6011 W. Main St., League City, and B 14870 Space Center Blvd., Houston, reopened stores May 4 with limited hours after closing its storefronts March 25 due to the coronavirus outbreak. Online orders picked up in store receive 10% o. 281-525-4110, 281-280-0772. www.shopadelaides.com 5 After temporarily closing around March 21 due to the coronavirus outbreak, Holly Berry Tea Room , 501 E. Main St., Ste. 4, League City, reopened for takeout April 28 and dine-in in early May. Owner Rhonda Karim said she has had success with keeping customers separated be- cause the restaurant has separate rooms where customers dine. 281-557-4433. www.facebook.com/holly-berry-tea- room-257709304352503 6 Life Time Athletic Baybrook , 19250 Gulrook Drive, Friendswood, reopened May 18 with some changes to make work- ing out safer for members. The athletic facility has adjusted hours to allow for overnight deep cleaning, there are clean- ing stations members can use throughout the club, there is increased space between workout equipment, and group tness classes now require reservations. 346-600-7800. http://my.lifetime.life

7 Moody Gardens , 1 Hope Blvd., Gal- veston, reopened its hotel and attractions May 22 and 23, respectively, after 10 weeks of closed attractions, according to a news release. Capacity restrictions will be within compliance of the Phase 2 govern- mental orders as most attractions open back up to the public with high-contact areas still closed. The Moody Gardens Golf Course reopened May 4. 409-741-8484. www.moodygardens.org NOWOPEN 8 Luis Hernandez opened his third Allstate Insurance Agency at 14200 Gulf Freeway, Ste. 200, Houston, on June 1. The business provides auto, property and life insurance, as well as annuities and nancial service products. 832-813-8337. www.allstate.com 9 Outriggers Fish Taco Co. opened April 25 across from Jackie’s Brickhouse at 1026 Marina Bay Drive, Clear Lake Shores. The food truck, which sta said is the begin- ning of a eet of mobile food trucks, sells sh, shrimp, beef and chicken tacos as well as burgers and sandwiches. www.outriggerstacotruck.com COMING SOON 10 Northern Tool + Equipment will open

THIS INFORMATION IS ACCURATE AS OF MAY 28. FOLLOW COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM FOR THE LATEST BUSINESS AND RESTAURANT NEWS UPDATES.

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BAY AREA EDITION • JUNE 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES Butler Road, Turner

COMPILED BY JAKE MAGEE

ONGOING PROJECTS

Street closed through summer for widening League City is in the midst of several trac improvement projects that aim to provide benets not only to the immediate area, but also to those who use I-45 through the Bay Area. Butler Road between League City Parkway and Turner Street in League City will be closed until mid-August, and Turner Street between Butler and Calder roads will be closed until at least October as contractors widen and repave the roads. Nearby, other roads are also being improved. League City Parkway, which western residents use to access I-45 to get north and south of League City, has been a “chronic bottleneck” for years, City Manager John Baumgartner said. Late last year, the Texas Department of Transportation began work to improve the intersection of League City Parkway and I-45, a project that is still underway. Around December 2019, League City proposed closing Butler and Turner, motorists’ only way around the League City Parkway work. As such, residents opposed closing Butler and Turner during TxDOT’s project, and the city postponed the closing, Baumgartner said. While remaining open, contractors have done drainage and other pre- liminary work for Butler and Turner, waiting for the opportunity to close to redo the roads, Baugartner said. At the same time in late 2019, a con- tractor had closed Ervin Street south of Butler and Turner for a project to expand it further east to connect to Calder Road and provide another

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I-45 and League City Parkway work The Texas Department of Transporta- tion is reconstructing the intersection of I-45 and League City Parkway to improve trac ow. The work is causing trac delays on League City Parkway, prompting locals to instead use Hobbs Road, Ervin Street and Calder Road. The extension of Ervin Street was expedited to accommodate additional trac, and Butler Road and Turner Street will oer more relief when widened. Timeline: fall 2019-spring 2020 Cost: $850,000 Funding source: TxDOT

Butler Road and Turner Street are completely torn up as workers prepare to widen and repave the roads. (Courtesy city of League City)

alternative besides Butler and Turner for motorists seeking to avoid trac along League City Parkway. League City agreed to pay $150,000 to have the contractor phase the project so two lanes of what will become a four-lane Ervin would open by April 15. As soon as Ervin opened, Butler and Turner closed. By opening Ervin early, the city gave motorists a way around League City Parkway while Butler and Turner are under construction, Baumgartner said. Motorists will have to endure only a fewmore months before the roads will open up and provide even more relief to travelers, Baumgartner said. After the road opens, those traveling north on Calder who want to go west on League City Parkway will not have to wait at the stop sign-controlled intersection of Calder and League City Parkway, which often backs up. Instead, they will be able to go through a roundabout on Calder west onto Turner and hit another roundabout on Turner to go north on Butler to reach a four-way, trac signal-controlled

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intersection at League City Parkway, Baumgartner said. Additionally, Butler and Turner will be widened to three lanes, which will allowmore vehicles to travel. Even without the widening, Butler and Turner needed work, he said. “Turner and Butler are old, ... rural county road sections,” Baumgartner said. “They’re functionally obsolete.” By the end of the year, all three road projects will be complete, oering respite to the increasing number of residents who drive on them daily, Baumgartner said. “We can’t get them under design and construction fast enough,” he said.

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF MAY 18. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT BAYNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM. will connect Calder Road to Hobbs Road. Two lanes are already open after League City in late 2019 paid $150,000 to expedite the project to oer residents an alternative way around League City Parkway. As soon as the two lanes opened in mid-April, nearby Butler Road and Turner Street were closed to be widened. Timeline: fall 2019-spring 2020 Cost: $850,000 Funding source: city of League City Ervin Street connector construction This four-lane arterial roadway

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BAY AREA EDITION • JUNE 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

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

GOLD SPONSOR

Our mission is to improve the quality of life through routine and aordable chiropractic care. Veteran owned and operated in the Bay Area and Pearland, we are proud to be considered Essential Medial Providers by the Texas Governor’s oce and the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Visit our clinics in League City, Clear Lake, Pearland Parkway, or Shadow Creek. No appointments, no insurance needed, and walk-ins are always welcome! Stay well-adjusted Texas!

GOLD SPONSOR

The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB Health) continues to expand access to health care services throughout the Bay Area Region, including hospital and emergency room services at our Clear Lake Hospital Campus and our League City Hospital Campus. In addition to hospital services, we provide the largest network of primary care and specialty care clinics throughout the region—all conveniently nearby and all backed by the UTMB Health full system of innovative, quality care. Call our 24/7 Access Center at (832) 632-7991 to schedule an appointment.

Health CareDirectory 2020

Data and information on health care trends in Harris, Galveston counties

HOWHEALTHY IS YOUR COUNTY?

COMPILED BY COLLEEN FERGUSON

HEALTH CARE SNAPSHOT BAY AREA

• LENGTHOFLIFE • QUALITYOFLIFE , such as the number of poor mental and physical health days reported HEALTH OUTCOMES INCLUDE: These rankings are updated annually but include data from previous years. There are other factors included that are not listed below.

45

99

10

610

Health indicators for Harris and Galveston counties indicate the counties are among the lowest 15% of Texas counties in terms of physical environment. Galveston County’s health behavior indicator is also among the lowest in the state.

45

Harris County

CORONAVIRUS CASE ANALYSIS

Galveston County

HEALTH FACTORS INCLUDE:

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• 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

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.

2020 STATEWIDE HEALTH CARE RANKINGS (out of 244 counties)

107

32

Health outcomes

CASE BREAKDOWN

23 72 68 166

Length of life

Harris County

Galveston County

Active cases 6,885

Active cases 289

Quality of life

151

173

Health behaviors Health factors

Total cases: 11,770

Total cases: 788

224 Deaths

32 Deaths

72 238

Socioeconomic 190 112 Physical environment 244 216 Clinical care 64 42

4,661 Recoveries

467 Recoveries

CASES PER 100,000 RESIDENTS: 249.73 CASES PER 100,000 RESIDENTS: 230.31 SOURCES: HARRIS COUNTY, GALVESTON COUNTY, COUNTYHEALTHRANKINGS.ORG, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES

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BAY AREA EDITION • JUNE 2020

Caring for You. Always. From primary care to the most complex procedures, UTMB Health is here to meet your health care needs. As always, UTMB Health offers the largest regional network of primary care and specialty care providers to include: • Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery • Women’s Care, including Labor & Delivery Services • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine • Neurology and Neurosurgery • Gastroenterology and Colorectal Surgical Servcies • Advanced Surgical Services, including Minimally Invasive Surgery • And more

CLEAR LAKE HOSPITAL CAMPUS

In the Bay Area region, UTMB Health offers two full-service hospitals with 24/7 emergency

departments . You have access to the latest treatment options and advanced procedures—all conveniently nearby. As always, your health, safety and well-being are our top priorities. Our expert providers are ready to care for you in a safe, comfortable environment. As always, you can call our 24/7 Access Center at (832) 632-7991 to schedule an appointment with a UTMB Health provider.

DR. LEILA SIM—PRIMARY CARE/PEDIATRICS

We look forward to serving you soon!

Visit utmbhealth.com to learn more.

The University of Texas Medical Branch is in-network for most major insurance plans.

LEAGUE CITY HOSPITAL CAMPUS

12

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

DEVELOPMENT

Health Care Edition 2020

HoustonMethodist Clear Lake Hospital expansion underway

GROWING C A M P U S

The fourth medical oce building at Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital is under construction. Eventually, the hospital itself may expand to make room for more doctors.

Businesses razed or to be razed Utility, administrative buildings Orthopedic medical oce under construction

Other work has been completed at the hospital campus, and other projects have yet to begin. In late 2018, the hospital bought a Fuddruckers along East NASA Park- way. In late 2019, it closed, and the hospital demolished it to make way for an improved entrance driveway into the campus, which was com- pleted early this year, Newman said. The idea with the new entrance was not only to make getting to the campus easier, but to also make the hospital more visible. Before, motor- ists would see Fuddruckers and the hospital behind it; now, the hospital is more prominent, Newman said. Fuddruckers is not the only business aected by the hospital’s growth: Mediterraneo Market & Cafe, Viola & Agnes’ Neo Soul Cafe and Java Owl Coee House are three addi- tional restaurants that have or will close or relocate before the hospital demolishes the strips they reside in, Newman said. The strips are on the north and south sides of the oce under construction, and the hospital wants them gone, he said. “We’re doing that so we have ade- quate parking for that new building,” he said. The southern building, which houses Neo Soul Cafe, will be demol- ished in June. The northern building, which houses Mediterraneo and Java Owl, will be demolished in early 2021. All businesses have known from the beginning the hospital’s plans.

BY JAKE MAGEE

As many health care facilities in the Greater Houston area are seeing fur- loughs and layos due to the corona- virus pandemic, Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital in Nassau Bay is in the middle of an expansion with sights set on future growth. In December, the facility at 18300 Houston Methodist Drive, Houston, broke ground on what will become the campus’s fourth medical oce. Despite the pandemic, the six-story, 150,000-square-foot building is on schedule to open in May 2021, said Dan Newman, the CEO and senior vice president of the hospital. “It’s progressing nicely,” he said. On the rst oor, the new building will have physical therapy and an outdoor sports complex for patients to exercise. There will also be an aquatic center, which can be helpful to recent surgery patients who have trouble putting weight on certain parts of their bodies, Newman said. On the second oor will be ortho- pedic physicians and six surgeons for hands, feet, joints and other areas. The third through sixth oors will be oces for future physician recruit- ment, including a cardiologist and a neurosurgeon, he said. The hospital ended 2019 with 37 physicians. Ocials anticipate having about 75 doctors on campus at least part time by 2025, Newman said. “We have a number of services we believe we do very well,” he said. “We will continue to recruit doctors.”

Medical oce buildings

Houston Methodist Clear Lake Hospital

The new building will have six stories and feature physical therapy, an outdoor sports complex, physicians, surgeons and oce space.

RENDERING COURTESY HOUSTON METHODIST CLEAR LAKE HOSPITAL

One of the businesses, Erma’s Nutri- tion Center, has already relocated within Nassau Bay, Newman said. “Certainly we want to keep all of them in our community,” he said. Nothing is ocial yet, but in the next 12 to 18 months, Newman believes Houston Methodist will have direction on a possible expansion to

the actual hospital. Since hospital expansions take years to approve and build, the goal is to have an expan- sion underway before the hospital is at capacity with health care workers, Newman said. “If you wait until you’re at capac- ity, you probably waited too long,” he said.

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BAY AREA EDITION • JUNE 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

INSIDE INFORMATION

COMPILED BY BEN THOMPSON

A PATH TO PROTECTION

As worldwide health care experts work to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus, one health care company in The Woodlands continues work on its own 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.

You are pressuring those who have to evaluate to make decisions. In a normal way of business you wouldn’t be- cause you have more time. I trust 100% [in] our regula- tory bodies. The people who conform the teams within the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] are teams that operate with their mission to ensure their decisions are based on robust and strong scientic evidence.

To read the full Q&A visit communityimpact.com. SOURCES: DR. MARIA ELENA BOTTAZZI, VGXI INC.COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

READ MORE

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BAY AREA EDITION • JUNE 2020

CONTINUED FROM 1

STOPPING The coronavirus mortality rate in Galveston County is twice as high as that of Harris County. County officials said this is likely due in part to the outbreaks in five Bay Area nursing homes. All but one of more than 30 people who died from the virus in Galveston County were over 60 years of age, and about half were between 81 and 90 years old. THE SPREAD

in an email. “Our preparation and con- tinued diligence are a reflection of our mission to care for residents prior to the pandemic and will continue as we all adjust to a post-pandemic world.” Post-pandemic changes for seniors Local facilitymanagers said the envi- ronments at nursing homes, post-acute care centers and senior living commu- nities will be distinctly different after the coronavirus pandemic. Skilled nursing providers across the country are learning many of the pan- demic’s unintended consequences and, in turn, some of the flaws in the health care system, McKenzie said. The long-termcare workforce is historically underpaid, leading to high turnover, he said. A national study released April 23 by the Kaiser Family Foundation indi- cates long-termcare employees are dis- proportionately lower-wage workers. Texas’s rate of Medicaid funding does not cover the actual cost of care for residents, McKenzie added, and he called on lawmakers to reconsider this rate moving forward. “Health care providers, patients, consumers and policymakers must take into consideration where we were before the pandemic crashed on our shores and where we should be in the future,” he wrote. Mark Fritz, president of Bridgemoor Transitional Care in Webster, agreed the pandemic provided facilities with learning opportunities. After major medical procedures, some seniors may spend time at a post-acute center such as Bridgemoor, which provides short-term rehabilitative care like an extension of a hospital, Fritz said. The goal at a place such as Bridgemoor is to get patients back home quickly and safely, since home is the safest place for elderly people, he added. As a result of the pandemic, patients and their relatives will likely be more selective when choosing a care center, he said. “I think people are going to look very differently at what type of post-acute care they’re going to,” Fritz said. Jeffery Smith, senior vice president of sales andmarketing for The Shores at Clear Lake, said the last several months have underscored the necessity of isolation for residents at the assisted living facility. At The Shores at Clear Lake, residents will likely continue sheltering in place as the state reopens, and the community’s no-visitors rule is expected to continue, Smith said.

CORONAVIRUS CASES BY AGE THROUGHMAY 29

Galveston County

Harris County

982

43

0-20: 21-40: 41-60: 61-80: 81+:

0-19: 20-39: 40-59: 60-79: 80+:

4,373

211

35%

20%

4,045

257

1,866

167

of Galveston County cases were in residents 61 and older

of Harris County cases were in residents 60 and older

110

500

CLEANING UP

At Village on the Park Friendswood assisted living community and Focused Care at Webster nursing home, facility staff and relatives of residents said altered operations were put into place amid the pandemic. These changes include:

Everyone in the community in masks—employees, residents and visitors Double-bagging any items brought into the facility

Non-communal dining No group activities or social events Regular sanitation of high-contact points

At FC Webster, daily checks of PPE and weekly phone calls to ensure there is enough equipment Greatly limiting visitors and screening everyone entering the facilities

SOURCES: JULIANNA DEAN, FOCUSED POST ACUTE CARE PARTNERS/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Newspaper . Staff at The Resort at Texas City, Ash- ton Parke Care Center, The Cottages at Clear Lake and Regent Care Center of League City did not respond to multi- ple requests for comment on the out- breaks. As of May 20, case counts at the League City facilities were increasing. Derek Prince, CEOof the parent com- pany of Friendship Haven Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Friend- swood where eight cases were con- firmed, said the facility began testing all residents, patients and employees for coronavirus a week ahead of Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to do so. “Our nursing facilities, with com- munal settings and frail population, present a delicate setting for care and treating this novel virus,” Prince said in a statement. “Testing everyone in our facility allows us to properly iso- late and quarantine our residents and employees. We are notifying all family members about this testing and results and working with our state and local officials.” Friendship Haven did not respond to requests for further comment. Abbott announced May 11 that 100% of Texas’ nursing home residents and staff members will be tested for coro- navirus, but did not provide a time- line for when testing would begin. The state’s Health and Human Services Commission, Division of Emergency

Management and Department of State Health Services received direction fromAbbott to implement a plan based on guidance from Vice President Mike Pence and Coronavirus Response Coor- dinator Dr. Deborah Birx. Testing is onlymandated for skilled nursing facil- ities, not assisted living communities, Harris County Public Health officials said May 20. Focused Care at Webster had six resi- dents with confirmed cases, all asymp- tomatic, said Mark McKenzie, CEO of Focused Post Acute Care Partners. Four employees also tested positive but have since returned to work after later testing negative, as required, he said. No deaths have been reported at the facility, and it is coronavirus-free as of May 18, McKenzie said. In late March, the facility started to monitor shared employees—those who work in multiple facilities—in all Focused Care communities and made the decision in early April to prohibit shared employ- ees from working in the facilities, he added. The facility will continue to be pro- active and exceed national health guidance when necessary to care for residents, McKenzie said. “Focused Care, in some cases, exceeded recommendations and guid- ance from the Centers for Disease and Prevention Control since the onset of the spread of the pandemic,” he said

CONTINUED FROM 1

as the 2.1% rate in Harris County. All but one of the 32 people who died from the virus in Galveston County were over 60 years of age; roughly half were between 81 and 90 years old. Staff at local nursing homes, post- acute care centers and senior living communities said the pandemic’s effect on the elderlyhas been far-reach- ing, and although they have adapted to manage the spread of the coronavi- rus, changes are expected to continue as providers navigate post-pandemic senior care. Response to nursing home outbreaks In early April, Galveston County reported about 90 residents were infected at The Resort at Texas City and Ashton Parke Care Center in Texas City, accounting for just under half of the city’s 202 total cases. Another 104 cases were reported in League City as of May 29, all from The Cottages at Clear Lake and Regent Care Center of League City, making upmore than 42% of the total 245 cases in the city. The outbreaks are likely part of the reason why Galveston County’s COVID-19 mortality rate is twice as high as Houston’s and Harris Coun- ty’s, Zach Davidson, communications director for Galveston County Judge Mark Henry, told Community Impact

18

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Health Care Edition 2020

WORKING TOGETHER... TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE

PEACE OF MIND

Various alternatives to nursing home care are available in the Houston area for older adults for whom skilled nursing facilities are not the right fit.

OPTIONS

Here are three questions Adam Hundley, paralegal at Hegwood Law Group, said seniors should consider during the process: 1) What is going to happen to you if you aren’t able to make medical or financial decisions? 2) Who do you trust to make those decisions for you if you are incapacitated? 3) What do you want your loved ones to know? CONSIDERATIONS

Staying home unassisted: Modifications to daily home life—such as handrails and non-skid flooring— may prolong how long seniors can live alone in their own homes. In-home care: Caregivers can come to a senior’s residence and help with tasks like preparing meals, housecleaning and dressing. Assisted living communities: Seniors may enjoy a community that offers socialization and assistance.

There’s a reason more people in the Clear Lake Area trust Houston Physicians’ Hospital. The safety of our patients and staff is our first priority. Together we will get through this.

SOURCE: ADAM HUNDLEY, ELDER ADVISORY GROUP/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

“Our world—kind of living in a bub- ble with our residents and our commu- nities—that’s not going to change for a while,” he said. “It’s going to be this protective bubble still, until a vaccine comes out.” The staff continues to adapt its touring and move-in process, as seniors’ needs for housing and care have not been put on hold, Smith said. The community “recently had a confirmed case of COVID-19 that has since been cleared in accordance with CDC guidelines,” according to its website. Smith said prohibiting visitors has been a tremendous help in keeping the coronavirus out of the community. Future elder care considerations Senior care providers must take into account both the physical and emotional health risks present among elderly populations to prop- erly administer care post-pandemic, according to a community health expert at the University of Hous- ton-Clear Lake. Part of what makes seniors so vul- nerable to the coronavirus is the comorbidities—or co-occurring disor- ders—many have that put them higher at risk of infection, said Julianna Dean, who teaches in the Department of Clin- ical, Health, and Applied Sciences at UHCL. These comorbidities include conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Moreover, if an elderly person is hard of hearing, more effort may be required to produce speech, which could greatly increase the potential for saliva droplet contamination, she

added. Another common source of infection is high-traffic areas such as light switches or, in a nursing facility, handrails and walkers. Beyond the physical risk factors, older individuals in general experience more loneliness, which over time can be detrimental, Dean said. Not only could the lack of physical touch or quality time with loved ones lead to anxiety and depression, it could also increase seniors’ mortality rate. “We know that we have to have human contacts—hugs or just time spent with others—and because that is being limited right now, there may be an increase in mortality,” Dean said. “Social interaction is so important for the elderly, and so ways to incorporate that ... can really improve their health.” The pandemic has greatly compro- mised the social infrastructure, which Dean referred to as “social capital,” present at many skilled nursing facil- ities. In many facilities, this social capital takes the form of outings and group activities, which have been vir- tually eliminated amid the pandemic. Reinstating some form of social infra- structure will be just as essential as providing care for physical ailments in the coming months, she said. “When we don’t have those good social relationships, our health is com- promised regardless of if we go to the best doctors,” she said. “If we don’t have good social capital, regardless of the high standards of care we have, our health could still be bad.”

Houston Physicians’ Hospital 333 North Texas Avenue • Webster, TX 77598 Joint Solutions Center (281) 972-6451 www.houstonphysicianshospital.com

For more information, visit communityimpact.com .

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BAY AREA EDITION • JUNE 2020

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