A temporary mortuary, or decedent holding area, is expected start operating this week in Monroe County.
The decedent holding area consists of two shipping containers. Each can hold up to 64 people who have died. They are expected to be used for any decedent regardless of how they died.
Monroe County Director of Communications Julie Philipp says this will address an anticipated shortage of mortuary space in funeral homes and local hospitals. As of Monday, 26 people in Monroe County have died from the coronavirus.
"We do have more deaths due to the Covid-19 virus," Philipp says. "But also funeral homes are limiting the number of services they can conduct."
Funeral homes have to maintain social distancing practices and new sanitation measures, and Philipp says it's causing a backlog for funeral services. Also, family members of someone who has died of COVID-19 may also be sick and unable to hold services.
"I think this is a very very difficult time for all of us but particularly those of use who are losing someone," she says. "I would just recommend that people seek support wherever they find comfort, whether it be church, a mental health counselor, or just a really good friend."