Josephine County requests refrigerated trucks to store bodies, crematories “at max use daily”

JOSEPHINE CO., Ore. — Josephine County hospitals are exceeding their daily cadaver storage capacity, according to a refrigerated truck request obtained by NBC5 News.

“One refrigerated trailer for 20 to 48 cadavers” is what’s written on an Oregon Emergency Resource Request form from Emily Ring, the emergency manager in Josephine County. Ring marked the request as ‘urgent’ on August 24 and requested the truck to be in the county by Saturday afternoon.

The form says deaths from the COVID-19 Delta variant and other excess deaths are surging.

Under the ‘Other Mission Critical Information’ section of the form, it says this: “The five funeral homes and three crematoriums describe themselves as not yet in crisis but at the edge of crisis daily. Averaging 5 new deaths per day this week. Crematories at max use daily. Mortuary services and hospital have requested County Public Health and County EM assist in solving current and forecast cadaver storage needs.”

The form continues on to say, the “trailer must have hoists for body lifts and shelves. A larger use 53-foot morgue trailer is also of interest if available for sale or lease.”

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