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Fitchburg Arena Tapped As Temporary Morgue In Anticipation Of Upped Coronavirus Death Toll

A temporary morgue is being staged at Fitchburg State University's Landry Arena should the need arise if the COVID-19 death toll accelerates or if staff become less available. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
A temporary morgue is being staged at Fitchburg State University's Landry Arena should the need arise if the COVID-19 death toll accelerates or if staff become less available. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The state's chief medical examiner established a staging area at Fitchburg State University's Landry Arena to serve as a temporary morgue should the need arise if the COVID-19 death toll accelerates or if staff become less available.

Jake Wark, a spokesperson for the examiner's office, stressed Wednesday that officials currently have "sufficient capacity" but are preparing contingency plans to expand options.

"We are grateful to Mayor DiNatale and Fitchburg State University for making this space available to ensure that mortuary services are uninterrupted and remain safe for the community and sensitive to families," he said.

The state's plan would use mortuary trucks stationed at Landry Arena, which officials said would not create any health risks. Temporary morgues, which are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, would allow mortuary services to keep operating during a surge.

A tent rental truck arrives while construction of a temporary morgue is underway at Fitchburg State University’s Landry Arena. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
A tent rental truck arrives while construction of a temporary morgue is underway at Fitchburg State University’s Landry Arena. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Part of the construction site. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Part of the construction site. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

This article was originally published on April 02, 2020.

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