The bodies of hundreds of New York City residents who died from COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic remain in a series of trailers along the Brooklyn waterfront more than a year later, according to the New York Post. Dina Maniotis, executive deputy commissioner of the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office, told a City Council health committee on Wednesday that there are about 750 bodies in long-term storage at the “temporary” emergency morgue that opened last April, the paper reported. Early in the pandemic, refrigerated trucks were used in many places across the U.S. to augment capacity at morgues and funeral homes, which were stretched beyond capacity as COVID spiraled out of control.
“In the very near future, we will begin to notify all the families that we’ve been working with that we are now going to ramp our operations down slowly, give them the time that they need, and we’ll keep the operation going as they need it,” Maniotis told the committee. The facility was meant to give families extra time to make their decisions during the days of broad lockdowns and severely decreased mobility. Some have reportedly requested their relatives’ remains be buried in the city’s potter’s field, Hart Island, while city officials have lost touch with others, Maniotis said.