The dead bodies of hundreds of New York City residents remain in a refrigerated morgue on the Brooklyn waterfront more than a year after the coronavirus pandemic emerged in the city.
Roughly 750 people are in long-term storage in the specially designed disaster morgue that opened in April, Dina Maniotis, executive deputy commissioner of the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office, told the city council’s Committee on Health, the New York Post reported.
In the early days of the pandemic, the city took the unusual step of putting coronavirus-infected bodies in packed refrigerated trucks as morgues, hospitals and funeral homes were overwhelmed and lacked space.
Maniotis said the facility was designed to give families extra time to deal with the loved one’s corpse but the arrangement was meant to be temporary.
“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,” she said, the Post reported.
Maniotis said that families of the many of the dead still in storage have asked the city to bury their remains on Hart Island, the nation’s largest public cemetery, while the city has lost contact with the families of others, The Post reported.