Oakland County deploys mobile morgues as coronavirus strains hospitals

click to enlarge Body of deceased patient in orange bag moved from hospital to refrigerator truck serving as temporary morgue outside of Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn. - SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
Shutterstock.com
Body of deceased patient in orange bag moved from hospital to refrigerator truck serving as temporary morgue outside of Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn.

Oakland County has set up two mobile morgues as hospitals begin to run out of space to store bodies.

At least one hospital is already storing bodies in one of two refrigerated units behind the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office in Pontiac.

“We drafted a plan (to store bodies) hoping we never would have to use it,” Casimir Miarka, administrator of the county’s medical examiner’s office, tells Metro Times. “Obviously we’re using it now.”

If the situation worsens, the county may resort to storing bodies in an ice arena.

“We hope we don’t have to get to the point,” Miarka says.

Each refrigerated unit can store 20 to 24 bodies, Miarka says.

Hospitals are responsible for storing bodies in their own morgues, but the coronavirus outbreak is taxing their ability to accommodate the dead.

County officials said the situation underscores how serious the outbreak continues to be.

“There are still serious issues out here,” Miarka says. “Follow what your health officers are telling you to do to maintain social distance.”

Wayne County also said it's preparing to deploy mobile morgues.

Across Michigan, the coronavirus has claimed more than 1,700 lives and infected 27,000 people. Earlier this week, photos showing bodies piling up at Detroit's Sinai-Grace Hospital made national headlines.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
Scroll to read more Metro Detroit News articles
Join the Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.