NYC still storing COVID-19 victims in refrigerated trucks

Virus Outbreak Refrigerated Storage
Posted at 3:14 PM, May 07, 2021

NEW YORK — New York City is still using refrigerated trucks to store bodies of coronavirus victims, more than a year after they were first set up as temporary morgues as deaths surged at at the height of the pandemic.

The city’s medical examiner’s office said Friday that 750 bodies are being kept in long-term storage in refrigerated trailers at a Brooklyn pier while family members sort out plans for their final resting places. In some cases, family members could not be located.

Dina Maniotis, a deputy commissioner with the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, told a city council committee many of the bodies held at the 39th Street Pier could end up buried in the city’s potter’s field on Hart Island.

The Office of Chief Medical Examiner has 15 forensic-investigations staff members identifying bodies. The team is equipped to handle about 20 deaths a day. During the height of New York City's outbreak, they were handling about 200 deaths a day.

More than 24,000 people have died from COVID-19 in New York City.