Tractor-trailers will be used to store bodies in New York, officials say

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With mounting COVID-19 deaths in New York, tractor-trailers will be used for storage.

Officials say 64 bodies can fit on each tractor-trailer. People who die from COVID-19, as well as those who die from non-COVID-19 related reasons, can be stored on the tractor-trailers, according to officials from the Monroe County (New York) Department of Public Health.

At this point, bodies have not been stored in tractor-trailers, but county officials say they expect this process to begin soon.

Officials say this will be the first time locally that tractor-trailers have been used for body storage.

Officials say COVID-19 is the reason for this process. They say funeral homes are limiting the number of funerals they can conduct at a time, causing a delay in funerals while there is a local increase in deaths due to COVID-19.

A related issue is that if someone dies from COVID-19, their family could be infected as well, so they can’t have a funeral immediately, or family can’t come from out of town.

Additinoally, Monroe County will open a space to store bodies. Officials said this in an email Tuesday:

“Monroe County has opened a Decedent Holding Area (DHA) to address an anticipated shortage of mortuary space at local hospitals and funeral homes. This facility, located at the County Fleet Center on Paul Road, is expected to begin operation this week and can currently accept up to 128 decedents.

The DHA is necessary for a variety of reasons. In addition to an increase in local deaths related to COVID-19, funeral homes are limiting the number of funeral services they conduct during this crisis to maintain social distancing and sanitization measures. This is causing a delay.

Furthermore, a number of other issues are making it difficult for some families to have a funeral at this time. For example, some family members may be too ill or unable to travel.”

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