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Pima County's morgue makes extra space available for storing bodies

Pima County's morgue makes extra space available for storing bodies

In this 2014 file photo, a forensic anthropology postdoctoral fellow, takes inventory of a set of remains at the Pima County Medical Examiner’s office. Up to 150 spaces in the county morgue are being made available to help Tucson hospitals, funeral homes and mortuaries to keep up with the demand for body storage amid the coronavirus cases, officials say.

Up to 150 spaces in the county morgue are being made available to help Tucson hospitals, funeral homes and mortuaries to keep up with the demand for body storage amid the coronavirus cases, officials say.

There have been 313 known COVID-19 deaths in the Tucson area, as of Friday, according to the most-recent figures released by the state health department.

County officials said capacity for bodies has been an issue over the past couple weeks, but blamed the slowdown of the funeral process, and not a spike in deaths attributed to the coronavirus. Those stored at the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office will include some who died from COVID-19 “but not all are pandemic victims,” according to a news release from the county.

“The Pima County Health Department said the need for the county to provide relief for some hospitals and funeral homes is not associated with any known surge of COVID-19-related deaths – the County reported no COVID-19 deaths yesterday – but instead appears tied to backlogs in the funeral industry,” the news release said.

Stay with Tucson.com for updates.

Contact reporter Justin Sayers atjsayers1@tucson.comor 573-4192. Twitter: @_JustinSayers. Facebook: JustinSSayers.


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Reporter

Justin, a two-time University of Arizona graduate, covers local government, focusing on the City of Tucson. He previously worked at the Louisville Courier Journal, Arizona Republic and Hartford Courant and has received several journalism awards.

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