San Antonio will have 5 refrigerated trailers operational to store corpses amid COVID-19 surge

Trailers 'underscore severity of COVID-19,' official says

As the death toll climbs in the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals are strained, Metro Health says the city and county have two refrigerator trailers that can hold 24-36 bodies

SAN ANTONIO – Refrigerated trailers have become a grim reality in San Antonio amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the surge in coronavirus-related deaths and the postponement of many funerals due to social distancing guidelines, hospitals are running out of capacity in their morgues, according to Mario Martinez, assistant director of Metro Health, the local health department. In Bexar County, two refrigerated trailers are already operational, and three more will be set up by the end of the week, Martinez said.

“This is a morbid topic and it’s not one we enjoy talking about but it really does underscore the severity of COVID-19 in our community,” Martinez said.

Refrigerated trucks are on standby to hold bodies in San Antonio, officials say

The trailers can hold between 24 and 36 bodies. Each trailer will be staffed with employees and security, Martinez said.

“These individuals are family members and friends and we can’t emphasize enough the precaution measures that we’ve stated before,” Martinez said.

Those precautions include keeping your distance from others and wearing a face covering when social distancing isn’t possible.

Local hospitals have also put in orders for additional refrigerated trailers, Martinez said.

Since the pandemic began in March, more than 200 people died of COVID-19 in Bexar County.

About the Author:

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for four years. He has covered several topics, but specializes in crime, courts, open records and data visualization.