Morgue trucks are being ordered by Texas counties and Phoenix, Arizona, as the skyrocketing number of COVID-19 cases in the states move into the next chilling phase: an overwhelming death toll.
Even as Arizona county morgues are reaching capacity, White House officials insisted to Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego recently that everything is under control and that she’s being too demanding reaching out for help, she told local ABC15 TV Friday.
“I’m heartbroken ... it’s been a rough week for me,” Gallego said. “We are losing too many Arizonans,” she added, and again urged Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to mandate face masks in public throughout the state. She and other mayors are also pleading with Ducey to restrict business activity to help stem the spread of the disease.
The morgue at Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, is at 96% capacity. The Maricopa County Unified Command Center is working with the local Department of Emergency Management to “secure a contract for refrigerator trucks” to serve as makeshift morgues, officials said in a statement.
The city’s largest hospital network, Abrazos Health, has also ordered “refrigerated storage,” even though it currently has “adequate morgue space,” according to officials.
Arizona is steadily breaking records for daily new cases of COVID-19. Cases in the state hit nearly 120,000 Saturday after jumping 3,038 in a single day, with a total of 2,151 deaths, according to the state health department.
Gallego said Phoenix is the “largest city in the country that has not yet received federal surge testing” help, even though she has been requesting it “for months.” The Trump administration told Gallego to send residents to Walgreens for testing, triggering long lines in crushing Arizona heat for some 50 available tests at the stores. (See the video above.) Federal officials recently told Gallego that they will step up testing efforts.
Morgues are also overwhelmed in Texas, where COVID-19 cases...