A Joint Service of Bradley University and Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Local News

Mobile Morgue A Possibility As Peoria County Coroner Runs Out of Space

Tim Shelley / Peoria Public Radio

Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said he's considering mobile refrigerated trailers to hold more bodies as morgues fill to capacity.

"Over the last four months, we've seen a significant increase in our volume of people who are passing away. The question is, is it all COVID related? And the answer is no, but a large part of it is," Harwood said. "We're monitoring our storage capacity not just at the Peoria County Coroner's Office and at our morgue, but as a region as a whole." 

Harwood said he wants to ensure the individuals passing away are still treated with dignity and care if morgue space does run out. He said preparing mobile refrigerated units is another way to ensure that.

"I don't want people to be afraid. I don't want people to freak out and think the end is near, because it's not," Harwood said. "We're just making sure that we're prepared. It's my responsibility as Peoria County coroner to make sure we're prepared, and that's what we're doing."

As of Wednesday, the Tri-County area of Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford counties reported 294 COVID-19 related deaths this year, including 144 in Peoria County alone.

There's no subscription fee to listen or read our stories. Everyone can access this essential public service thanks to community support. Donate now, and help fund your public media.