Hospitals are requesting refrigerated trucks in case COVID-19 deaths spike

Some hospitals in the South have refrigerated mortuary trucks on standby in case COVID-19 deaths increase and overburden hospital morgues. 

Sarasota (Fla.) Memorial Hospital is one such hospital that's leased a truck as a precautionary measure. 

"The trailer is not in use at the moment, but is being prepared in case we see a surge in the coming days/weeks," Kim Savage, a spokesperson for the hospital, told ABC affiliate WWSB Aug. 25. 

The Texas Department of State Health services requested five mortuary trailers Aug. 4 as a precaution amid surging COVID-19 case numbers in the state, The Washington Post reported. As of Aug. 19, the trailers were not in use. 

Baptist Health Hardin, a 300-bed hospital in Elizabethtown, Ky., also had a refrigerator truck on standby amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, ABC affiliate WHAS reported Aug. 19.

The refrigerated trucks were used in hard-hit areas, including New York City, during earlier COVID-19 surges and served as a grim symbol of the losses experienced during the pandemic. States' anticipated need for the trucks underscores the challenges of the current wave, which has severely strained hospital capacity in some states, the Post said. 

The nation's seven-day average of new COVID-19 deaths was 1,116 as of Aug. 24, up 84 percent in the last two weeks, according to data tracked by The New York Times.


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