WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Texas and Phoenix counties have ordered morgue trucks as bodies continue to pile up due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Phoenix City Mayor Kate Gallego said that she has continuously asked for federal aid for months, yet still has not received expanded testing assistance from the federal government.
- Arizona has consistently broken daily records of new coronavirus infections, recording nearly 120,000 as of Saturday, with 3,038 cases and 2,151 fatalities in just a day.
As the COVID-19 death toll continues to spike rapidly, counties in Texas and Phoenix, Arizona, have ordered morgue trucks as part of their reinforcement efforts.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, a Democrat, told ABC15 TV on Friday that White House officials told her recently that everything was under control and that she was being too demanding in asking for aid, despite the fact that Arizona county morgues had already reached its maximum capacity.
“I’m heartbroken … it’s been a rough week for me,” Gallego said. “We are losing too many Arizonans,” she added and again pleaded with Republican Governor Doug Ducey to order the use of face masks in public. Alongside other mayors, they urged Ducey to limit businesses to mitigate the pandemic.
The capacity of the morgue at Maricopa County, which hosts Phoenix, was already at 96 percent. According to officials, the Maricopa County Unified Command Center is coordinating with the local Department of Emergency Management to “secure a contract for refrigerator trucks” that would serve as makeshift morgues.
Officials also said that Abrazos Health, the city’s biggest hospital network, already ordered refrigerated storage in spite of having enough morgue space.
The Democrat mayor said her city is the “largest city in the country that has not yet received federal surge testing” assistance, despite her continuous requests for months. The White House responded by telling Gallego to send Arizonians to Walgreens for testing, which generated long lines in the scorching heat. She was also advised that the federal government will beef up its testing measures.
The morgue in Nueces County, which includes Corpus Christi, reached its capacity on Wednesday and ordered a second refrigerated truck from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“That’s why we’re asking people to wear face masks… I am now having to order additional body bags and morgue trailers. People have to understand how real it is,” Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales told NBC-affiliate KRIS-TV.
Based on the Texas Tribune report, morgues in Austin, Travis, Cameron and Hidalgo Counties now have either refrigerator trailers or have ordered morgue trucks.
Arizona continues to break daily records of new COVID-19 cases. New infections reached nearly 120,000 on Saturday after recording 3,038 cases in just a single day with 2,151 fatalities, based on the state health department’s tracking.
The US hit another record of 66,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day on Friday. The COVID-19 death toll has reached almost 135,000.