MARICOPA COUNTY (3TV/CBS 5) – Maricopa County officials say the Medical Examiners office (commonly called the morgue), currently has 142 bodies in its possession. That means the county has not had to use refrigerated trucks it requested to hold additional bodies.
“As you all know, from what we've presented in the past, 150 is our normal capacity, and anything above that up to 209 is considered SURGE capacity. And that's at the time we start planning for what might be next and how much our intake is within that entire system that involves funeral homes," said Maricopa County Communications Director Fields Moseley during a news conference Wednesday.
County leaders say they’re also focused on keeping students safe by giving schools personal protective equipment (PPE) for when it's safe for kids and teachers to return to campus.
There's a fear that the lack of money for personal protective equipment in poor, rural districts will drive away teachers who don’t feel safe because they have a higher risk for COVID-19 complications and are close to retirement.
"Approximately two weeks ago, the logistics section of the Maricopa County Unified Command began distributing 1,450 PPE starter kits for public, private, and charter schools throughout the county," said Maricopa County Emergency Management Dept. director Robert Rowley.
It was a week ago when Arizona’s Family first reported on the PPE starter kits for schools. The kits came with one thermometer, 100 gloves, 50 surgical suits and ten face shields.
At the same time, county leaders say they will be buying 750,000 cloth masks and will distribute those to schools that request them.
Another topic that was brought up Wednesday is cases by race or ethnicity. County medical leaders say the Hispanic and Latino communities have been hit especially hard. Per 100,000 people, 1,616.8 people who are Hispanic have tested positive. Compare that to the 691.5 per 100,000 for non-Hispanic people in Maricopa County.
The county is also working to track the spread at local long-term care facilities. In the last 28 days, there have been 208 facilities with confirmed COVID-19 cases. That number counts staff members and residents.