Virus prompts Illinois county to open warehouse to store bodies

The Illinois county that includes Chicago is setting up new places to store bodies in preparation for a likely surge in the number of coronavirus deaths that could overwhelm hospital morgues.

Posted: Apr 9, 2020 3:16 PM
Updated: Apr 11, 2020 7:09 AM

CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois county that includes Chicago is setting up new places to store bodies in preparation for a likely surge in the number of coronavirus deaths that could overwhelm hospital morgues.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s office said in a news release Thursday that a 66,000-square-foot refrigerated warehouse located 5 miles from the medical examiner’s office would be up and running by the end of the day. The facility, according to the release, will be able to hold more than 2,000 bodies.

The county’s Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security has also acquired 14 refrigerator trailers and is in the process of securing six more. Another trailer has already been set up outside the medical examiner’s office. It’s a grim reminder of the trailers that were hastily set up to handle the overflow of bodies of people who died in the 1995 heat wave that claimed more than 700 lives.

“While my hope is that we have made plans that we will not have to utilize, I realize that my administration has the responsibility for a surge of deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Preckwinkle said in the release. “We are working diligently to ensure that the victims of this virus are treated with dignity while under our care.”

The warehouse and the trailers come at a time when the medical examiner’s office is closing in on the maximum number of bodies it can store. County spokeswoman Natalia Derevyanny said the office has enough space to store 285 bodies and at last count there were 246 bodies stored there. She said there are already two trailers at the facility, each of which can hold 30 bodies.

She also said that the other trailers will be placed in parts of the county where there are anticipated surges and they will be moved to be placed wherever officials see there are hot spots.

Further, she said the facility opening on Thursday will streamline the process of storing bodies. “This is for all the hospitals so they (bodies) can be taken directly” to that facility, instead of being first brought to the medical examiner’s office, she said.

Derevyanny did not know the size of morgues for area hospitals but said they are quite small, with space for only a few bodies each.

Meanwhile, Chicago, which has long been plagued by gun violence, has in recent days been hit by a rash of shootings that is taxing the medical examiner’s office at a time when it is dealing with more and more coronavirus deaths.

According to Chicago police, there were between Sunday and early yesterday 13 homicides, a spate of shootings that prompted angry words from Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

“In the middle of this worldwide pandemic, our precious health resources need to be treating COVID-19 patients and those needing acute care... Lightfoot said at a Wednesday news briefing. “To be blunt, if our ICUs are filled with gunshot victims, our ability to respond to this … crisis will necessarily be compromised.”

Lightfoot urged people to help investigators, despite a history of distrust residents of some neighborhoods have with police that has made them reluctant to come forward with information.

“This is especially urgent now as our ability to treat all Chicagoans is being stretched to the breaking point,“she said. “We cannot allow this to happen. People know who the shooters are. You know who you are. These cowards cannot be given any shelter,” Lightfoot said.

Terre Haute
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 82°
Robinson
Partly Cloudy
83° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 85°
Indianapolis
Partly Cloudy
79° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 80°
Rockville
Partly Cloudy
78° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 80°
Casey
Partly Cloudy
79° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 81°
Brazil
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 82°
Marshall
Partly Cloudy
81° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 82°
Sunny and warmer to start!
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

In Case You Missed It

${article.thumbnail.title}

Trace Adkins: The Way I Wanna Go Tour

${article.thumbnail.title}

SCAM ALERT: Avoid phony Amazon calls

${article.thumbnail.title}

SCAM ALERT: Social media influencer ruse

${article.thumbnail.title}

SCAM ALERT: Beware of knock-off car seats

Image

Police make arrests in deadly shooting case

${article.thumbnail.title}

SCAM ALERT: Fake change-of-address websites

${article.thumbnail.title}

SCAM ALERT: Fraudsters claim Apple iCloud breach to steal your info

${article.thumbnail.title}

SCAM ALERT: Schemes target military families

${article.thumbnail.title}

SCAM ALERT: Avoid Zoom phishing

Image

SCAM ALERT: Rental car shortage leads to phony deals

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1389892

Reported Deaths: 25606
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook55655610470
DuPage924461322
Will769851035
Lake683971019
Kane59475808
Winnebago34146508
Madison30990526
McHenry29197295
St. Clair28377519
Peoria23461343
Champaign21118155
Sangamon19112240
McLean18559188
Tazewell17234305
Rock Island15248329
Kankakee14574216
Kendall1329099
LaSalle12791250
Macon11000211
DeKalb10132121
Vermilion10039143
Adams8727127
Williamson7619134
Whiteside7199174
Boone683778
Ogle621983
Grundy598878
Clinton578991
Coles5774100
Knox5649155
Jackson510265
Henry508170
Livingston490291
Woodford484682
Stephenson482985
Macoupin478388
Effingham476972
Franklin454378
Marion4516117
Jefferson4425122
Monroe439094
Lee419354
Randolph416587
Fulton405459
Logan398864
Morgan393782
Christian383975
Montgomery379674
Bureau378484
Fayette322855
Perry320360
Iroquois314668
McDonough291651
Jersey271752
Douglas260836
Saline260657
Lawrence241027
Shelby232838
Union228341
Crawford214525
Bond208724
Cass203727
Ford189050
Warren184749
Clark184033
Jo Daviess182624
Pike182153
Wayne181253
Hancock180931
Carroll178537
Edgar177240
Richland176940
White170626
Washington164925
Moultrie163128
De Witt157229
Mason154245
Piatt152414
Clay149943
Mercer149534
Johnson148116
Greene145234
Massac136040
Wabash135712
Cumberland130319
Menard125012
Jasper116718
Marshall108119
Hamilton84216
Schuyler7827
Brown7326
Pulaski7007
Stark64824
Edwards57712
Calhoun5312
Henderson52914
Scott4901
Putnam4863
Alexander47411
Gallatin4704
Hardin39112
Pope3304
Unassigned502433
Out of IL360

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 752108

Reported Deaths: 13816
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1033831790
Lake558431013
Allen41736693
St. Joseph37007565
Hamilton36617417
Elkhart29425461
Tippecanoe22938228
Vanderburgh22565400
Porter19369327
Johnson18486389
Hendricks17696317
Clark13233195
Madison13176344
Vigo12631253
LaPorte12429221
Monroe12226176
Delaware10970198
Howard10349224
Kosciusko9643121
Hancock8578147
Bartholomew8174157
Warrick7864156
Floyd7815180
Grant7248179
Wayne7164201
Boone6979103
Morgan6768141
Dubois6224118
Marshall6214116
Cass6024110
Henry5903110
Dearborn589878
Noble581688
Jackson509476
Shelby502396
Lawrence4753122
Gibson445595
Clinton443555
Harrison441775
DeKalb440385
Montgomery439890
Whitley406744
Huntington403381
Steuben400859
Miami395769
Jasper389155
Knox377691
Putnam373461
Wabash362383
Ripley347370
Adams345555
Jefferson336186
White332753
Daviess3035100
Wells295481
Decatur289892
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey274335
LaGrange273272
Scott270356
Clay267148
Washington246336
Randolph245183
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228159
Fountain222048
Sullivan214843
Owen212358
Fulton204043
Jay201032
Carroll193820
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion175344
Franklin170435
Tipton166646
Parke149616
Pike138334
Blackford136232
Pulaski120847
Newton114936
Brown104443
Benton102614
Crawford102516
Martin91815
Warren84115
Switzerland8158
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0424