’Hope to God we do not have to use this unit.’ Portable morgue placed outside Johnstown hospital

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — A portable morgue has been placed outside a Johnstown, Pennsylvania hospital “out of an abundance of caution.”

According to WJAC, Cambria County Coroner Jeff Lees held a news conference Tuesday, confirming 243 COVID-19 related deaths there, with 171 in December alone. He and other county officials said the mobile refrigerated morgue can hold 33 bodies and will only be used as overflow. Officials said the Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, the coroner’s office and funeral homes in the area have been working at maximum capacity.

Officials said they wanted to make it very clear, though, that the unit has not yet been needed but was brought in because of the rapidly increasing number of people who died related to the coronavirus.

“I hope to God that we do not have to use this unit,” Lees told WJAC. “We want to be ready and proactive to handle such a rise where, if we need to use that unit, it’s here.”