BOISE, Idaho — Editor's note: The above video is what the coronavirus future could look like in Idaho.
The Ada County Coroner's Office is preparing for more deaths from the coronavirus by bringing a refrigerated semi-trailer to store bodies, however, the coroner's office was already operating at or near body storage capacity prior to the pandemic.
Nine deaths and 550 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the state’s largest county as of Friday, April 17. See a county-by-county case breakdown and other interactive graphs in our map and timeline.
On its Facebook page Friday afternoon, the coroner’s office gave a shout out to Western Trailers for delivering its new refrigeration trailer.
The post went on to read:
Sadly with times like these, additional storage is a necessity in order to safely and effectively serve our community and our state. Words cannot express how grateful we are for all of the support we have received from our local Ada County Commissioners, fellow Idaho Coroners, local businesses and members of the community. #AdaStrong #idahome
The coroner's office later sent a tweet to clarify, saying that, "our office did not have the storage capacity to meet the demands of this pandemic in addition to our daily operations. In order to meet the needs of those we serve and protect the health of our staff, additional storage was needed."
The Ada County Coroner's Office was already dealing with the long-term issue of not having enough storage in the morgue before the coronavirus pandemic began. The new refrigerated trailer will help address the issue and help the coroner's office prepare for more COVID-19-related deaths in Ada County.
Last year, it was reported that the morgue was running out of space to hold bodies. On most days prior to the pandemic, the coroner said they were at capacity and had to store bodies on cots and smaller folding tables until they could be released to area funeral homes.
Ada County Coroner Dotti Owens said months before the pandemic that the issue of storage for bodies will only worsen as Idaho's population continues to grow. Owens made the statements more than six months before the first coronavirus case was confirmed in Idaho.
"While this necessity is very sad, our priority is to ensure we are ready and able to take care of our community members to the best of our ability. May everyone stay safe and healthy during this difficult time!" the coroner's office tweeted out.
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