Hundreds of bodies still remain in Brooklyn freezer trucks – Telemundo New York (47)

What you should know

  • Hundreds of bodies are still found inside freezer trucks at a morgue established during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring in New York City, according to the city.
  • Many of the 650 bodies in the morgue, located on the Brooklyn waterfront, are of people whose families cannot be located or cannot afford a proper burial, authorities said.
  • The Medical Examiner’s Office is having trouble finding relatives of some 230 deceased people.

NEW YORK – Hundreds of bodies are still stored inside freezer trucks at a morgue established during the peak of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the spring in New York City, according to the city’s Office of the Medical Examiner.

Many of the 650 bodies in the morgue, located on the Brooklyn waterfront, are of people whose families cannot be located or cannot afford a proper burial, authorities said. The unit tasked with identifying the bodies is set to handle about 20 deaths a day, but during the peak of the pandemic it received as many as 200 a day, said Aden Naka, deputy director of forensic investigations, at Wall Street Journal.

Normally, the body would have been buried a few weeks away on Hart Island in Long Island Sound. But as COVID-19 deaths rose in New York in April, with up to 800 deaths each day, Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed not to conduct mass burials in temporary graves.

The Medical Examiner’s Office is having trouble finding relatives of about 230 people who have died, authorities said. When close relatives have been contacted, not many bodies have been collected because families have not arranged the burial for financial reasons, nor have they requested a free burial on Hart Island.

“Supporting families and assisting them with final arrangements for those who died at the height of the pandemic reflects the primary mission of the Office of the Medical Examiner,” said Dr. Barbara Sampson, Chief Medical Examiner, at a statement on Sunday.

The city is slowly reducing the number of bodies in storage, and the number has dropped from 698 to 650 since mid-September, according to Dina Maniotis, deputy executive director of the Medical Examiner’s Office.

New York State has reported at least 34,187 deaths due to COVID-19, according to data from John Hopkins University and Medicine. And at least 6,600 residents have died in nursing homes, according to state data, which does not indicate how many nursing home residents died in hospitals.

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