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A Florida health system is using refrigerated coolers because their morgues are full of patients who died from COVID-19

Business Insider logo Business Insider 8/26/2021 rcohen@insider.com (Rebecca Cohen)
a stainless steel oven: Open hospital morgue drawers used for the storage of human bodies awaiting identification or autopsy. Holly Mahaffey Photography/ Getty Images © Holly Mahaffey Photography/ Getty Images Open hospital morgue drawers used for the storage of human bodies awaiting identification or autopsy. Holly Mahaffey Photography/ Getty Images
  • The morgues at AdventHealth in Central Florida are full because so many people have died from COVID-19, WFTV-9 reported Thursday.
  • The hospital system is currently using refrigerated coolers to store the bodies.
  • The overcrowding is said to be due to slowdowns at the local funeral homes, so the hospital has to store bodies longer.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

AdventHealth in Central Florida has reached full capacity at its hospital morgues because so many people have died from COVID-19, WFTV-9 reported Thursday.

"We have begun utilizing rented, refrigerated coolers at 10 of our campuses throughout Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole, & Volusia counties," read an email from the company the ABC affiliate obtained. "These coolers are quickly becoming filled also."

In a statement from the company sent to Insider, AdventHealth didn't specifically address the rented coolers.

"We have a robust emergency management program, which has allowed us to continue to care for our community during this surge with thorough planning and precautionary measures. With the spike of seriously ill patients in our hospitals, it's prudent that we prepare for an increase in deaths and are putting resources in place to provide additional capacity if needed," the statement said.


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The overcrowding is said to be due to slowdowns at the local funeral homes, WFTV reported. Because of this, the hospital has to hold the bodies for more time.

The Florida Department of Health in Orange County didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

COVID-19 cases in Florida continue to rise, and Johns Hopkins University data shows hospitalizations are at a record high in the state. Overall, 66% of Floridians are fully vaccinated, but that percentage drops to 47% for 20-29-year-olds.

The state is averaging about 21,000 new cases, 17,000 hospitalizations, and 200 deaths per day.

At the height of New York City's coronavirus outbreak in March 2020, hospitals also used refrigerated trucks as temporary morgues.

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