Refrigerated truck waiting in Marshall County as death rate rises and mortuaries near full

For the second time during the pandemic, Marshall County has secured a mobile mortuary as a space to contain bodies near full capacity.

Marshall County Coroner Cody Nugent said the units are not meant to frighten the public. They are part of a plan for mass death. The coroner’s office only has room to store 14 bodies at a time, and the rented truck will triple the capacity.

“The county coroners’ offices and EMAs are basically on their own trying to figure out what we need to do to respond to this in order to have our own resources available,” Nugent told WAAY 31 Thursday.

Nugent is no stranger to death. But what he encounters during this pandemic is nothing like what this county has seen before.

“From July to August 2020 compared to July to August this year, we had a 40% increase in deaths only in our office and that is not counting the deaths in the hospital and the deaths in the hospices”, explains Nugent. .

“On an average year, we would normally work on around 165 cases and so far, September 16, we have had 170 this year. “

The two Marshall County hospitals do not have mortuary space, so it is up to the coroner and the town’s two small funeral homes to meet the growing demand.

Nugent says it’s not just Covid-19 deaths that they’re seeing on the rise.

“Honestly, at this point we can’t say what’s related to Covid and what isn’t, but we are only seeing an influx of deaths.”

Resources are limited inside the coroner’s office and assistant coroners are volunteers. These staff are also feeling the effects of the pandemic.

“I now have a deputy who dated Covid just trying to get over it.

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