Marshall County brings in mobile morgues in case coronavirus deaths spike

The trucks were donated to help with a mass casualty plan.

Posted: Apr 14, 2020 9:30 PM
Updated: Apr 14, 2020 10:52 PM

Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers has described Marshall County as North Alabama's 'hot spot' for coronavirus. 

The number of cases has been on a steady incline over the past week. Last Tuesday, there were only 34 confirmed cases, now it has 104, with two reported deaths. 

However, the county coroners office is taking steps to ensure its equipped if there are more deaths. At Carr Funeral Home in Guntersville, there are freezer trucks on standby to use as mobile morgues.

Marshall County Coroner Cody Nugent said it is a part of the mass fatality plan. A plan that should not scare people.

"We service two hospitals, neither of which have morgues, so um, we're basically it," Nugent said. 

Nugent said his department's cooler can only fit two bodies at a time. Normally, if there was a mass casualty event in the county, the state would assist. Since coronavirus is a nationwide pandemic, those resources are not available. 

"I mean at this point in the county if we just have three people, two people pass away from this pandemic, you know we're going to be struggling to find space on the county's side of things to hold these individuals," Nugent said.

Mack Transportation in Guntersville donated the trucks that Nugent said he hopes he never has to use.

"We're not doing this to try to scare people, we're not doing this to try to raise concerns," Nugent said. "We're doing this to be prepared, that's what we're here for."

Teresa Bradford is one of those people feeling a little anxious about seeing the trucks. It does not help that her daughter is sick, and waiting to find out if she has coronavirus. 

"She kept getting worse and worse, and then she couldn't breathe the other night," Bradford said. 

With all that is going on, Bradford said she is doing her best to remain hopeful.

However, she said she understands the coroner's office is taking precautionary steps. She believes people who did not take the virus seriously before, will now. 

"Praying to God that he's going to take care of us all," Bradford said. 

This is the first time the coroner can recall having to put in place a plan like this. He said as of right now, the projections are not as bad as they were a few weeks ago, and is hopeful they will not have to be used. 

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