There have been so many coronavirus deaths in a short amount of time in Suffolk County, New York, that the county’s morgue and overflow morgues are nearing capacity.
Now, the Long Island county is planning to use a refrigerated building on a farm to help store bodies, a county spokesman confirmed to CNN.
“At the early stages of this crisis, we were having conversations about suggestions of using ice rinks and stores with refrigeration to store bodies,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said in a statement to CNN. “I made the decision that I was not going to tell families that we need to convert their children’s ice-skating rinks and turn them into morgues because that is not who we are.”
Bellone decided, instead, to use facilities on the Suffolk County Farm, which is run by the Cornell Cooperative Extension but owned by the county.
There is a building on site that has large, unused refrigeration system, Bellone’s spokesperson Jason Elan said.
The county’s morgue capabilities, which includes a refrigerated trailer from the state, are half full, Elan said, adding that another trailer is expected to arrive later on Tuesday. After those are filled, the farm’s refrigerator would be used.
Bellone’s administration has also requested more body bags from the state.
“I’m having conversations I never imagined having in this position,” Bellone said.