PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – The Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office is close to capacity. 

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego's office said the City of Phoenix participates in meetings with the Maricopa County Unified Command Center. In the most recent meeting, the command center reported that the medical examiner is at 96 percent capacity and is working to secure a contract for refrigerator trucks. 

Fields Moseley, a spokesperson for Maricopa County reports the medical examiner is also looking at additional staffing due to the morgue being near capacity level for body storage. "[The Officer of the Medical Examiner] can expand that capacity to more than 200 cases and will do so if needed. This allows time to implement the plan for adding more cooler space."

According to Gallego, morgue space is nearing capacity and Abrazo has reported their morgue is at capacity. 

However, a spokesperson for Abrazo said the opposite. Here is the latest from Abrazo health: "Abrazo hospitals currently have adequate morgue space. The state has requested that hospitals implement their emergency plans. Part of activating our plan includes the ability to handle overflow morgue capacity if needed. Abrazo has taken a proactive approach by ordering refrigerated storage in the event it may be needed during a surge of COVID patients.  At this point it is not needed.  We do agree with the Mayor’s points around promoting awareness around masking, continuing to practice social distancing and seeking medical care in the event of an emergency need."

On Friday, Arizona reported 4,221 new COVID-19 cases with 44 new deaths. There are currently 116,892 coronavirus cases in the state with 2,082 deaths. 

In Maricopa County alone there are over 75,000 cases.

Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Tolleson, and Tempe mayors wrote a letter to Governor Ducey to do more to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Arizona. 

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego spoke with Arizona's Family Friday morning about the surge in Arizona and her frustrations with Ducey's most recent press conference. 

"Phoenix is the largest city in the country that has not received federal surge testing. For months, I have been requesting it early on in the outbreak. We got a response from the federal government that we did not have sufficient levels of the virus in our community to warrant a federal testing partnership. Now with us leading the nation unfortunately, I made another push. I appeared on a Sunday TV program this week and as soon as I got off, the White House called and said we want to do more. The next day I was on the phone with the admiral in charge of testing for the country," said Gallego.

Gallego said that she felt like the measures Ducey made in his most recent press conference were really half of what they should have been and believes more needs to be done and soon.


Copyright 2020 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



Recommended for you