New York City morgues are nearing their capacities, according to a Department of Homeland Security official and a person familiar with the situation who spoke to Politico.
With New York being a hotspot for the coronavirus pandemic, the sources noted that by next week the morgues would be full. A third source with familiarity told the news site that some of the city’s morgues had already hit capacity in the last week.
The city, however, says they’re prepared for the issue. “We have the ability to expand pretty dramatically,” Aja Worthy-Davis, a spokesperson for the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), said, “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.”
Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan is one hospital readying for the overflow. Two refrigerated trailers were recently placed on their property with the label “MOBILE COMMAND CENTER — MEDICAL EXAMINER”, according to The New York Post.
“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,” Worthy-Davis added.
Their have been more than 17,856 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the city and the situation has caused officials on the White House Task Force to encourage people leaving New York to quarantine for 14 days.