EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – As the number of COVID-19 related deaths rises in El Paso County, morgues are struggling to keep up.
According to El Paso County Commissioner David Stout, the County already has one mobile morgue that can hold 20 bodies. He added that the county will receive another one soon to help alleviate the strain on morgues.
However, according to Commissioner Stout the first mobile morgue is not yet being used but morgues are nearing capacity.
“The more we see an increase in positive cases, unfortunately, we’re going to see a continued increase in the hospitalizations and we will see a number of deaths related to COVID-19,” said Dr. Hector Ocaranza with the El Paso City/ County Health Authority.
Meanwhile, Perches Funeral Home is also expanding.
“We actually know that the morgues are reaching full capacity,” said Jorge Ortiz the General Manager of Perches Funeral Homes.
The newest location on Yandell increases the funeral home capacity from being able to hold 100 bodies at one time to now being able to hold 200 throughout all of its locations.
“We’re working together with our community just as we know they are actually reaching full capacity we just immediately go and transfer the remains to our facilities,” said Ortiz.
He said the funeral home works to arrange plans with families as quickly as possible.
“If the family has not decided on a funeral home they get transferred from their room to their morgue and so as soon as they make that first call we transfer the remains to our care facility,” said Ortiz.
El Paso just saw the deadliest day since the virus began with 14 deaths reported Thursday. However, Dr. Ocaranza said not all those people died in one day.
“Those are deaths that we are confirming and it’s a long labor-intense process that we are doing to make sure that we gather all of the information we need to finish the investigation and therefore confirming that death on a specific date,” said Dr. Ocaranza.