One Oakland County hospital has run out of space to store deceased COVID-19 patients, so those bodies are headed to the county morgue.
County officials aren’t naming the hospital. But several southeast Michigan hospitals have struggled to find enough store storage space for bodies of the pandemic’s victims.
Casimir Miarka, administrator for the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s office, said the office has received 10 additional bodies so far. He said the county has an emergency plan in place for when hospitals exceed their morgue capacity.
“And part of that plan is we have two 8 foot by 20 foot refrigerated units here at our morgue, which is separate from our morgue,” Miarka said. “So it’s on our property, but we keep [them] separate from the cases that we bring in on a daily basis.”
Miarka said those units can store more than 40 bodies. The county is also in talks with the state about providing additional storage capacity.
“If those aren’t available or those reach that capacity, we are in talks with a couple ice rinks to utilize the ice rink as a provisional morgue,” Miarka said.
As of Wednesday, the state reports that Oakland County has 5,576 COVID-19 cases, with 392 deaths.
Miarka said people should follow government public health orders and guidelines.
“If we pay attention to what they’re saying, we can reduce the number of deaths,” he said. “And if we can reduce the number of deaths, we don’t have to go to these extreme measures of setting up provisional morgues.”