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NYC hospitals using refrigerated trucks as temporary morgues

NEW YORK — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deployed 85 refrigerated trucks to New York City to serve as temporary morgues, where hospitals will place the overflow of bodies, as the coronavirus death toll climbed steadily on Monday, according to FOX News.

The additional truck space could double the capacity of city morgues, upping it from 3,500 bodies to 7,000, NY’s Medical Examiner’s Office (OCME) said.

Cases of COVID-19 in New York surged to 66,497 — the highest in the nation — and deaths mounted to 1,218. The hotspot of the virus, New York reported an over 11 percent increase in patients who tested positive for coronavirus, amounting to 6,751 cases on just Monday.

A refrigerated truck is seen outside of a Lenox Hill Hospital facility in the West Village section of Manhattan on Friday, March 27, 2020. (Jose Salvador/FOX5NY)

Trolleys lined the sidewalks of many hospitals, including Brooklyn Hospital Center and Mt. Sinai, as health care workers rolled the bodies of coronavirus victims out onto the street before loading them into the back of the refrigerated trucks.

A spokeswoman for Lenox Hill Greenwich Village Hospital in downtown Manhattan, where several refrigerated trucks were seen outside, told Fox News that the city’s hospital systems are “actively preparing for a surge in COVID-19-related hospitalizations.”

OCME and the NYC Office of Emergency Management (OEM) offered refrigerated truck trailers to all of NYC hospitals and the trailers are located at most of the hospitals throughout the city, the spokesperson said as the city works to “collectively tackle the COVID-19 health crisis.”

It is unclear of how long the trailers will be needed as the crisis continues to evolve, the spokeswoman said.
“Northwell Health hospitals have plans in place to handle a surge in patient volume and can increase our patient capacity by 60 percent if needed,” she added. “We are confident in our ability to meet this challenge. At this time we are not planning on setting up field hospitals.”
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