Mobile morgue units ready to help with COVID deaths

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – The increasing number of COVID deaths in Alabama has created problems for south Alabama. The Alabama Department of Public Health has sent two mobile morgue units to Baldwin County and Mobile.

Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris hoped there won’t be further needs for the mobile morgues in other parts of Alabama. South Alabama continues to see a large number of COVID positive cases, and that leads to more hospitalizations, and for some, more deaths.

Hospitals in South Alabama are getting federal assistance to help with the increasing number of COVID patients in hospitals. The head of the Alabama Hospital Association said the increasing number of hospitalizations opens the door for more expected deaths.

“The number of deaths each day continues to be 30 or greater. I fear at some point we will have to use. Certainly other places have already in this surge,” Dr. Don Williamson with the Alabama Hospital Association said.

Two mobile morgue units from the Alabama Department of Public Health have been sent to South Baldwin Hospital and to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in Mobile as a precaution to help out.

“If you had a huge mass casualty event, an airline crash with hundreds of people dying at the same time. That is typically what people think of these D-Mort teams responding to,” said State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.

Funeral homes are running out of space in South Alabama for bodies. Dr. Harris said the units are there to help if needed. As for bigger cities like Birmingham in Jefferson County with a bigger population, Harris doesn’t believe they will be needed.

“It’s hard to imagine a situation for us to send a trailer that can hold ten more bodies. I think that will be unnecessary in a place like Jefferson County,” Harris said.

But in other areas of Alabama, it could be possible as the COVID surge continues. “Unfortunately, I see no reason to see the number of deaths will not continue to increase,” Williamson said.

Williamson pointed out Alabama the deaths we are seeing now are those who got infected and sick in mid to early July. He believes the death numbers will continue to be high for weeks to come.

Copyright 2021 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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