Houston health system to temporarily close 2 clinics, shift staff to hospitals amid COVID-19 surge

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Harris Health System will temporarily close two clinics to boost staffing at its hospitals as COVID-19 cases rise, the Houston-based system confirmed to Becker's.

The system will temporarily close Vallbona Health Center in Houston and Squatty Lyons Health Center in Humble, Texas, effective Aug. 9.

Vallbona Health Center will continue providing obstetrics services. However, the remaining staff at both clinics will be deployed to help Ben Taub Hospital and Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, said Harris spokesperson Bryan McLeod.

The temporary clinic closures come as Harris staff members are grappling to keep up with an influx of patients.

Harris President and CEO Esmaeil Porsa, MD, described the situation as a crisis in an Aug. 3 KHOU report.

"We are not talking about a crisis a week, 10 days ... 14 days from now. We are in a crisis mode today," he told the news station.

Dr. Porsa reported that more than half of intensive care unit patients at the system's Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital are COVID-19 patients. He told KHOU additional staff is needed — to handle the increase in COVID-19 patients and other emergency room patients — and the system is considering whether it will need to cancel elective procedures.

Harris Health System includes Ben Taub and Lyndon B. Johnson hospitals, 18 community health centers, five same-day clinics, five school-based clinics, three multispecialty clinic locations, a dental center and dialysis center, and mobile health units, according to the system website.

Read the full KHOU report here

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