As COVID-19 Cases Exceed 20,000, San Antonio Officials Warn of Shortage of Morgue Space

Mayor Ron Nirenberg speaks at Monday's COVID-19 briefing. - Screen Capture / KSAT
Screen Capture / KSAT
Mayor Ron Nirenberg speaks at Monday's COVID-19 briefing.
Bexar County's number of COVID-19 passed the 20,000 mark Monday as local officials warned that they may need to store the dead in refrigerated trucks, a morbid scene witnessed in New York during the early days of the pandemic.

Local health officials reported 11 new COVID-19 deaths during a Monday evening briefing, including five people who died in their homes.

During the briefing, Christus Health South Texas Chief Medical Officer Ken Davis warned that hospitals are running out of space to house people who die under their care.

“We are out of space. Our funeral homes are out of space," he said. "We ourselves are looking to store bodies in refrigerated trucks and hold them until the morgue or funeral home can pick them up. It sounds terrible, but it’s true.”

Monday's tally of 20,213 San Antonio-area infections included 565 new cases, pushing local hospitals to bring on nurses from outside the city to care for a rising stream of patients.

During the briefing, Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff also urged Gov. Greg Abbott to further restrict large gatherings to help combat the ongoing rise in infections.

“We are nowhere near the sustained decline in new COVID cases,” Nirenberg said.

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