Texas coronavirus deaths soar and morgues are filling up

As Texas continues a weeks-long streak of setting grim coronavirus records, the most somber one was reached Friday: The virus has killed 3,013 people, according to the Department of State Health Services.

Among the recent deaths were a Northeast Baptist Hospital patient in San Antonio who was in his 30s, a Grand Prairie man in his 40s, a Garland woman in her 60s who had no underlying conditions, a 73-year-old man who was about to go home from a prison rehabilitation program and a baby boy in Corpus Christi who wasn’t 6 months old yet.

Their deaths come as counties prepare for a surge in fatalities, some by requesting trailers to expand their hospital and county morgue capacities.

“That’s why we’re asking people to wear face masks,” Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales told NBC-affiliated KRIS-TV. “I am now having to order additional body bags and morgue trailers. People have to understand how real it is.”

In that county, which includes the city of Corpus Christi, the morgue is already full. County medical examiner Dr. Adel Shaker has requested an extra morgue trailer, provided by FEMA to local authorities. The refrigerated truck has a temperature-control system and can accommodate up to 40 more bodies, adding to the current 12-body capacity located inside the morgue building itself.

The county and the city of Corpus Christi reported 29 deaths from Monday to Friday, or nearly 70% of their total of 42 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. A morgue trailer was in place at the beginning of the pandemic, but it was “released” early, Shaker said.

“We have seen very few deaths for the first few months of the pandemic, so the FEMA trailer was placed in another city. But the need is here now,” he said.

Unlike other states, Texas does not publicly report probable coronavirus deaths, which means patients who have died without testing positive for COVID-19 could go uncounted. More Houston residents are also dying at home before they can make…

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