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Maricopa County Medical Examiner's office morgue now in surge capacity, multiple coolers ordered

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Posted at 2:46 PM, Jul 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 16:03:26-04

Officials confirmed during a press conference Wednesday that the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's office morgue has hit capacity and are now using surge space.

County officials will be discussing fatality management at a 1 p.m. press conference on Thursday. Click here to watch at that time, or tune in to the live streams on Facebook, ABC15 Mobile and ABC15 streaming channels.

The office's morgue exceeded the 150-body limit on Tuesday and is now using its surge capacity, officials said. The office's surge capacity can hold just over 200 bodies.

Four coolers are expected to arrive at the medical examiner's office Wednesday or Thursday for more body storage.

Additionally, the medical examiner's office is reaching out to funeral homes to "make sure they're taking bodies in a timely fashion."

It is unclear how many of the deaths are related to COVID-19. However, the county said last week that the medical examiner's office sees more deaths in the summer with the heat.

A spokesperson for the county has said that the medical examiner only investigates sudden, unexpected or traumatic deaths.

At the Wednesday press conference a spokesperson said, "four coolers have been ordered initially with more potentially being ordered in the next few days, four coolers will give us extra capacity for 60 bodies," said Fields Moseley.

Watch the full press conference in the player below.