The morgues in New York City are nearing full capacity due to the influx of deaths from the coronavirus. As a result, city officials are now having to consider a plan to deal with the fleeting vacancies as well as more potential deaths from thousands of coronavirus patients flooding city hospitals.
The city can reportedly “store up to 900 bodies across all five boroughs,” Politico reports.
Here’s more, from Politico:
The Department of Homeland Security has been briefed that New York City’s morgues are nearing capacity, according to a department official and a second person familiar with the situation.
Officials were told that morgues in the city are expected to reach capacity next week, per the briefing. A third person familiar with the situation in New York said some of the city’s hospital morgues hit capacity in the past seven days. And a FEMA spokesperson told POLITICO that New York has asked for emergency mortuary assistance. Hawaii and North Carolina have asked for mortuary help as well, and the disaster response agency is currently reviewing the requests, according to the spokesperson.
Aja Worthy-Davis, the spokeswoman for the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, said her city is uniquely experienced to deal with this new hurdle after having been forced to accommodate a large number of bodies as a result of the terror attacks on September 11, 2001.
“We have the ability to expand pretty dramatically,” she said per the Washington Examiner. “If you look back at what we did during 9/11, we have the ability to create mobile stations that allow us to house bodies if we run out of space.”
“All hospitals within the city tend to have small morgue spaces, so it’s possible that with the capacity of hospitals in New York City, there may be an expectation … that they’ll run out of morgue space,” the spokeswoman added.
From the report:
The morgue capacity in New York City is already small, with room for only 900 bodies across five boroughs. The lack of resources has forced healthcare providers such as Bellevue Hospital to set up a makeshift morgue to house patients who have died from the flu-like disease that has shuttered businesses and hampered movement worldwide.
On March 20, Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo instructed all nonessential residents to stay home and has repeatedly stressed the need for medical equipment to deal with the sharp rise in coronavirus patients.
Johns Hopkins University says the number of infected individuals in the city exceeds 17,500. According to the same data, the United States has a total of 69,197 confirmed cases, with 487,648 cases worldwide.
New York City is not the only city struggling to keep up with the accelerating number of deaths, according to the Washington Examiner, as several states are seeking help from the federal government.
“On Wednesday, state officials briefed the Department of Homeland Security on the shortage of space for bodies, and a FEMA representative said the city, along with Hawaii and North Carolina, have asked for emergency mortuary assistance,” the Washington Examiner reports.