Medical Center in Wheat Ridge using alternate storage for deceased


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WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (KDVR) — With limited space in the morgue at SCL Health Lutheran Medical Center, alternate storage has been used for the dead.

In a statement from the medical center, deceased patients can only be kept for a short period of time due to the limited capacity of hospital morgues. Therefore, refrigerator trucks have been utilized for storage when capacity of the morgue has been filled.

Here is the full statement from the SCL Health Lutheran Medical Center:

“Hospital morgues have limited capacity, and are available to keep deceased patients for short periods. During this time, families may experience delays in making arrangements and holding funerals for their loved ones. As a result, mortuaries and local coroner’s offices are also sometimes delaying the transfer of deceased patients from hospitals. For that reason, and as part of our planning process, we may occasionally use alternate methods such as refrigerator trucks to support our capacity needs.”

There are currently 2,521 COVID-19 related deaths and hospitalizations are at all time highs in Colorado. Some hospitals are experiencing ICU bed capacity and alternate medical sites may need to be utilized sooner than later.

Government health officials warn, if current trends continue, Colorado hospitals will reach maximum ICU bed capacity around Jan. 15.

If maximum capacity is reached, Coloradans can expect to see the state’s convention center and local gymnasiums doubling as hospitals. The death rate will also increase, according to officials.

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