Georgia county expanding morgue space due to ‘significant increase’ in COVID-19 deaths

TROUP COUNTY, Ga. — Troup County officials said that due to a significant increase in COVID-19 deaths, they will install a new, permanent morgue facility at Wellstar West Georgia Hospital.

The 10x10 cooler will hold up to 15 bodies and will be installed in about 12 weeks.

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County officials said that they have been borrowing morgue space from privately-owned funeral homes and neighboring county-owned morgue facilities.

Officials said there has been a significant decrease in the hours of operation at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Medical Examiner’s Office, which is contributing to the shortage.

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Troup County Coroner Erin Hackley said that she identified the need for more morgue space when she ran for the position in 2020.

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“At that time, it was not clear how urgent that need would become just a short time later: not only during this pandemic, but also in the planning of future mass casualty and disaster events,” Hackey said.

At least 230 people in Troup County have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.