County officials say they hope they don’t need to use a portable morgue that was placed outside Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center last week.
They say they want to make it very clear the morgue has not been put to use yet, but it is out of an abundance of precaution because of the alarming rise in COVID -19 related deaths that the county has seen.
Cambria County Coroner Jeff Lees held a press conference Tuesday morning where he confirmed there have been 243 COVID-19 related deaths in Cambria County.
Lees says 171 of those deaths occurred just within the month of December, making it the deadliest month the county has seen since the start of the pandemic.
The mobile refrigerated morgue can hold 33 bodies but will only be used as overflow as Conemaugh, the coroner’s office and local funeral homes have been working at max capacity.
The morgue could potentially also be used by surrounding counties and not just Cambria, but as Lee’s says, the hope is they don’t have to use it.
“I hope to God that we do not have to use this unit,” Lees said. “But again the numbers, the deaths obviously speak volumes on where we’re at today and we want to be ready and proactive to be able to handle such a rise where if we need to use that unit, it’s here.”