A team of 36 National Guard personnel is deployed to “provide support for the morgue,” according to the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM).
The team was mobilized on Saturday morning “after completing an assessment of the situation on the ground in El Paso County this week,” TDEM spokesman Seth Christensen told CNN.
“As we see a rapid increase in cases and hospitalizations, we are unfortunately also seeing a rise in deaths. We are working closely with funeral homes and morgues to help increase capacity and coordinate resources,” El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said in a statement. statement on Twitter.
“The Texas military will provide us with critical personnel to implement our death management plan, and we are very grateful for their continued support.”
Margo said the city and county have provided a central location for the morgue to add additional capacity. The location of the morgue will not be disclosed due to concerns about privacy, the mayor said in a statement.
The Texas National Guard was called in to replace prisoners recruited by El Paso earlier this week to move the bodies of coronavirus victims to relieve temporarily overworked staff.
Last month, funeral homes in the county prepared cold rooms to accommodate bodies in case they were overloaded. Last week, the county also requested four additional mobile morgues, which will result in a total of 10 mobile morgues.
El Paso, one of Texas hotspots for Covid-19, reported 1,074 new Covid-19 cases and eight deaths on Saturday. The municipality has registered a total of 247 coronavirus-related deaths, according to the county’s Covid scoreboard.
The number of coronavirus cases in the United States exceeded 12 million on Saturday – an increase of more than 1 million cases in less than a week.
More than 255,000 deaths from Covid-19 have been reported in the United States since the beginning of the pandemic, according to data from John Hopkins University.