Temporary morgue set up near LA County coroner's office as COVID deaths soar

LOS ANGELES -- A temporary morgue space was set up Friday near Los Angeles County coroner's office to help store bodies as COVID-19 continues to run rampant in the region.

Bodies were moved into temporary storage trailers on Friday morning that were put in place at the start of the pandemic. The county Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said they're preparing to add a new temporary morgue next week.

The department explained the steps taken in preparation for a potential overwhelmed mortuary system.

"Early on in the pandemic, the DMEC took steps and developed plans to add to our facility's body storage capacity. Refrigerated storage additions were installed in the beginning of April. During normal operations, DMEC can store up to 500 bodies. With the additions, we can further hold 1500 bodies for a total of 2000," the department said.

Los Angeles County has seen three consecutive days of more than 200 virus-related deaths. The county also reported on Thursday, over 8,000 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19.

"These next two or three weeks will define everything for us. Our own behavior will dictate everything that we do, even as we ramp up efforts on vaccination, on enforcement, looking at the orders that we have out there," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "Those things are critical, but 10 million people across LA County are an unstoppable force if we align our good actions together."

The mayor says the near-record number of 259 deaths on Tuesday was more than all the homicides in 2019 in the city of LA.

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