Rise in COVID-19 Deaths Forces Use of Temporary Morgue at WRH

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Windsor Regional Hospital is using its temporary morgue at Met Campus due to a wave of COVID-19 related deaths in recent days.

The temporary trailer outside of the hospital was built last spring as part of its early pandemic planning to make room for 36 additional bodies, according to hospital President and CEO David Musyj.

Musyj says Windsor's morgues have 12 spaces at Ouellette Campus and 12 at Met Campus. He says there is currently four spaces at Ouellette, but Met Campus has 14 bodies in its morgue, so the temporary structure has two people waiting to be put to rest.

"Early on at the end of wave one, we had to use it a couple times due to the number of patients who had passed away," he says. "Unfortunately we also recently have had to use it because of the amount of individuals who passed away at the hospital."

Musyj says Windsor is the morgue for most of Essex County, so space was already an issue before COVID-19 deaths were added to the system.

"In developing a pandemic plan, one of the issues you need to look at is more space and capacity," he says. "We already knew heading into the pandemic that our morgues were small."

He says getting those who have died from COVID-19 to funeral homes safely is also keeping bodies in the morgue longer than usual.

"They've worked very well in partnership with us to ensure a smooth process for the families and loved ones," he added.

Windsor-Essex saw a record number of deaths due to COVID-19 on Monday with 16 residents succumbing to the virus — in total — 170 people have died of COVID-19 in Essex County since the pandemic began.

Musyj says Windsor Regional Hospital has a contract with the city to use a double-pad rink as a temporary morgue, but hopes they never have to use it.