NYC hospitals using refrigerated trucks as temporary morgues


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.

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.

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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.

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.

Health workers wheel a deceased person outside the Brooklyn Hospital Center, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in the Brooklyn, New York City, March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Health workers wheel a deceased person outside the Brooklyn Hospital Center, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in the Brooklyn, New York City, March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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.”

Hospital and public health officials look inside a Freezer truck at the Brooklyn Hospital Center, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Brooklyn, New York City, U.S., March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - RC2KUF9MPN5Q

Hospital and public health officials look inside a Freezer truck at the Brooklyn Hospital Center, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Brooklyn, New York City, U.S., March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid – RC2KUF9MPN5Q

It is unclear of how long the trailers will be needed as the crisis continues to evolve, the spokeswoman said.

Health workers load a deceased person into a trailer outside of the Brooklyn Hospital Center, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - RC2MUF91UUBG

Health workers load a deceased person into a trailer outside of the Brooklyn Hospital Center, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid – RC2MUF91UUBG

“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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Fox News’ Tamara Gitt contributed to this report. 



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