Incarcerated Texans requested to work in county morgue as COVID-19 deaths overwhelm El Paso

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The morgue in El Paso is so overwhelmed by the variety of individuals dying from COVID-19 that inmates from the county’s detention facility are being introduced in to help with the overflow of our bodies awaiting post-mortem.

Whereas the work these inmates do locally sometimes goes unpaid, Chris Acosta, a spokesperson for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Workplace, stated “trustees refused to work except they have been compensated.” They’re making $2 per hour.

Between 4 and eight inmates from the detention facility’s trustee program are volunteering every day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The inmates doing the work are misdemeanor offenders and people in minimal custody. The shifts began Monday, Acosta stated.

Acosta stated she couldn’t converse to the precise nature of the work the inmates are doing on the morgues, however she stated that the inmates, one deputy and two detention officers are given private protecting gear and are required to put on it.

Pictures and video present the trustees transferring our bodies to the eight, quickly to be 10, cell morgues arrange outdoors the health worker’s workplace.

It’s a brief project, Acosta stated, whereas the county awaits the arrival of the Nationwide Guard.

The variety of hospitalized coronavirus sufferers within the far West Texas metropolis has shot up practically tenfold for the reason that begin of September. Earlier this month, the Division of Protection despatched medical groups to assist and native funeral properties are readying further refrigerated cupboard space.

El Paso County recorded a complete of 45 new deaths Thursday and Friday brought on by the virus. About 1,105 individuals are hospitalized, together with 319 in intensive care, in line with the most recent metropolis statistics.

Makes an attempt by metropolis and county officers to close down nonessential companies to attempt to gradual the unfold of the virus have bounced round within the courts, sowing confusion, Acosta stated.

“A variety of the companies have been calling my workplace, ‘Do I shutdown or not shutdown?’ The individuals are very confused. We’re simply making an attempt to comply with the decide’s ruling and comply with the regulation,” she stated.

El Paso County detention inmates, also known as “trustees” (low level inmates) help move bodies to mobile morgue units outsi…

Late Friday, a state appeals court docket once more blocked El Paso County’s shutdown of nonessential companies that was scheduled to final till Dec. 1. El Paso County Decide Ricardo Samaniego issued the shutdown order Oct. 29 in an effort to gradual the most recent outbreak of COVID-19 right here, however a bunch of native eating places and Texas Lawyer Normal Ken Paxton rapidly sued to dam it.

Requested in regards to the precautions taken to maintain the jail inhabitants protected, given trustees’ publicity to the virus, Acosta stated anybody getting into a county constructing is screened, which incorporates asking about signs and taking their temperature.

Ivan Pierre Aguirre contributed to this report.



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