Photo: Bob Owen /Staff Photographer
San Antonio officials have prepared temporary morgues to deal with the number of people dying at local hospitals.
“We’re always in a mode of preparing for contingencies, so we do have refrigerator trucks on standby in the area should they be needed,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg at a daily news briefing Monday.
In the past week alone, 58 people with COVID-19 in Bexar County have died. Area hospitals were under “severe stress,” Nirenberg said, and only 10 percent of staffed beds were available.
Ken Davis, chief medical officer for Christus https://bt-hypnotise.com/ South Texas, said hospitals and funeral homes were “out of space” for the deceased.
“It’s a hard thing to talk about — people’s loved ones are dying — but in the hospital, there are only so many places to put bodies of the loved ones in,” Davis said. “We’re out of space, our funeral homes are out of space, and we need those beds. So when someone dies we need to quickly turn that bed over.”
He noted that one of the city’s larger hospitals had two slots for people who have died.
“We need more than two,” Davis said. “We had 14 die in the hospitals this weekend, plus other non-COVID patients of course are dying, so there’s nowhere to put them.
“We’re looking ourselves for refrigerated trucks to put bodies, to hold them, until the morgue or the funeral home can come pick them up. Which sounds terrible, but it’s true.”
In Nueces County, officials requested a FEMA mobile morgue unit (a refrigerated trailer) and body bags from the state. County Judge Barbara Canales told residents Thursday that “the sudden spike in deaths has created this need.”
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