About 750 COVID-19 victims are being warehoused in refrigerated storage units in Brooklyn that received their first bodies more than a year ago.
Dina Maniotis, the executive deputy commissioner of the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office, said the city is now planning to do something about that, according to the New York Post.
“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,” he told the City Council’s Committee on Health on Wednesday.
Some families have already indicated they want their dead relatives buried in the city’s potter’s field for the indigent, which is located on Hart Island.
The city has lost touch with the families of some COVID victims whose bodies are in the refrigerated units.
City Councilman Mark Gjonaj asked why so many bodies remained to be buried when families had expressed their wishes.
“Why are we delaying that any longer than we have to?” he said.
New York City is still using refrigerated trucks to store bodies of coronavirus victims, more than a year after they were first set up as temporary morgues as deaths surged at the height of the pandemic. https://t.co/3eVPzXxOw8
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 7, 2021
Mark Desire, a spokesperson for the medical examiner’s office, said the city has tried to be sensitive, according to The Associated Press.
“Long term storage was created at the height of the pandemic to ensure that families could lay their loved ones to rest as they see fit,” Desire said. “With sensitivity and compassion, we continue to work with individual families on a case by case basis during their period of mourning.”
In April 2020, as COVID stalked the city, bodies of the dead went into cold storage at a time when morgues, and funeral homes could not keep up with the rate of deaths.
Also this week, New York Gov Andrew Cuomo praised the order that sent many COVID patients into nursing homes, according to Fox News.
Cuomo patted himself on the back while skewering Republicans who have criticized him.
“A health order that was put out by the State Department of Health on March 25th, which was from a medical point of view, smart,” Cuomo said.
The families of over 15,000 dead seniors do not think your March 25th order was “smart.” In fact, it was a death sentence. If it was so brilliant, why are there three investigations into it and your involvement? https://t.co/DFVhFPjpat
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) May 6, 2021
Then came the tirade about Republicans.
“They wanted to blame nursing home deaths on that order. They then wanted to blame a report that clearly said how COVID got into nursing homes had nothing to do with March 25th. They’ve taken every attempt to politicize it and blame Democratic states. They then not only politicized that, they tried to criminalize it,” Cuomo said.
“They’ve continued to politicize it because they don’t want to accept responsibility for what happened,” Cuomo said.
“They’re still in denial. They’re still pointing fingers. They’ve learned absolutely nothing. And when you politicize public health and medical decisions, you are on a very dangerous course, my friend,” he said.
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