Morgues overflow in New York county where up to 60 people are dying from coronavirus each day

New York county where up to 60 people are dying from coronavirus each day prepares to store bodies in the coolers at a meat processing plant as morgues overflow

  • Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone described the crisis unfolding in his section of the Hamptons in an interview with CNN on Wednesday
  • ‘We’re seeing a total of 50, 60 people dying a day from the virus. All COVID-related,’ Bellone said – ‘the numbers are staggering’ 
  • A month ago, Suffolk County hadn’t recorded a single coronavirus death
  • As of Tuesday, more than 653 people have died and 23,523 have been infected
  • Harrowing footage shows countless bodies lined up inside the county morgue and two refrigerated trucks, all of which are filled to capacity
  • County officials are now preparing to convert an unused meat processing plant at Suffolk County Farm into a temporary morgue
  • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT 
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

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Morgues are overflowing in a New York county where dozens of people are dying from coronavirus each day as officials look to store bodies in an unused meat processing plant.   

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone described the crisis unfolding in his section of the Hamptons in an interview with CNN on Wednesday.  

‘We’re seeing a total of 50, 60 people dying a day from the virus. All COVID-related,’ Bellone said. ‘The numbers are staggering.’

A month ago, Suffolk County hadn’t recorded a single coronavirus death. As of Tuesday, more than 653 people have died and 23,523 have been infected.  

Harrowing footage shows countless bodies lined up inside the county morgue and two refrigerated trucks, all of which are filled to capacity.  

County officials are now laying plans to convert a refrigerated building on the Suffolk County Farm into a temporary morgue as they expect the death toll to continue rising for the foreseeable future. 

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT 

Harrowing CNN footage shows the inside of a morgue in Suffolk County, New York, where dozens of people are dying from coronavirus each day

Morgues overflow in New York county where up to 60 people are dying from coronavirus each day

Two refrigerated trucks brought in to store bodies after the morgue filled up have also reached capacity as Suffolk County officials prepare to open another morgue facility at an unused meat processing plant. The inside of one of the refrigerated trucks is shown above

Morgues overflow in New York county where up to 60 people are dying from coronavirus each day

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone described the crisis unfolding in his section of the Hamptons in an interview with CNN on Wednesday. ‘We’re seeing a total of 50, 60 people dying a day from the virus. All COVID-related,’ he said. ‘The numbers are staggering’

Morgues overflow in New York county where up to 60 people are dying from coronavirus each day

A new morgue facility with 300 beds has been set up at Suffolk County Farms (pictured)

Bellone said the farm facility, which is owned by the county and run by the Cornell Cooperative Extension, is currently set up to hold 300 bodies but capacity could be increased to 450 if necessary.  

The county has also requested more body bags from the state as its current supply dwindles.  

‘I’m having conversations I never imagined having in this position,’ Bellone told CNN. 

‘At the early stages of this crisis, we were having conversations about suggestions of using ice rinks and stores with refrigeration to store bodies. 

‘I made the decision that I was not going to tell families that we need to convert their children’s ice-skating rinks and turn them into morgues because that is not who we are.’

Suffolk County, which is home to 1.5 million people on the eastern half of Long Island, currently ranks fifth in New York state for coronavirus cases. 

‘If I can convey anything to people across the country who haven’t been hit, it is how quick this happens and how intense it gets. And to do everything you can to prepare,’ Bellone said. 

‘Once it does come, you’re in for something you’ve never seen before.’  

Morgues overflow in New York county where up to 60 people are dying from coronavirus each day

A month ago, Suffolk County hadn’t recorded a single coronavirus death. As of Tuesday, more than 653 people have died and 23,523 have been infected. Pictured: Staff at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip remove a body from a refrigerated truck on Wednesday

Morgues overflow in New York county where up to 60 people are dying from coronavirus each day

Bodies are seen stacked in a refrigerated tractor trailer outside the county morgue

Morgues overflow in New York county where up to 60 people are dying from coronavirus each day

The new morgue facility at Suffolk County Farm (pictured) is currently set up to hold 300 bodies, but capacity could be increased to 450 if necessary

Morgues overflow in New York county where up to 60 people are dying from coronavirus each day

A worker is seen arranging shelves inside the refrigerated building at the farm 

According to the latest figures released Tuesday, more than 1,600 of Suffolk County’s 23,523 infected individuals are currently hospitalized. 

The number of hospitalized patients increased by 22 from Tuesday to Wednesday as 196 were admitted and 174 were released.  

About a third of those hospitalized (562) are in the intensive care unit, an increase of 31 from Tuesday. 

Morgues overflow in New York county where up to 60 people are dying from coronavirus each day

Suffolk County, which is home to 1.5 million people on the eastern half of Long Island, currently ranks fifth in New York state for coronavirus cases. The graphic above shows cases per town: Islip – 6,051; Brookhaven – 4,321; Babylon – 3,660; Huntington – 2,923; Smithtown – 1,182; Southampton – 332; Southold – 242; Riverhead – 233; East Hampton – 105; Shelter Island – 6

Morgues overflow in New York county where up to 60 people are dying from coronavirus each day

The graphic above with cases per hamlet is color-coded to indicate outbreak severity

Morgues overflow in New York county where up to 60 people are dying from coronavirus each day

The graphic above shows cases per 1,000 people in each hamlet (white boundaries) and town (red boundaries)

Southside Hospital in Bay Shore is one of many health care facilities that are struggling to keep up with the unrelenting flood of critical-ill coronavirus patients in the past few weeks.  

The hospital increased its limited capacity from 305 beds to 418 beds before setting up a tent in the parking lot specifically for COVID-19 patients. 

‘We’re maxed out.

We have been maxed out for a while,’ an ER worker told CNN.  

‘Everyone is talking about New York City, but our local community has had a widespread disease and we actually – within the health system – had a very high percentage of patients in the ICU.’ 

Another worker said: ‘Being an emergency room nurse, this is what you sign up for. You sign up to be there no matter what comes in the door. This is on a much bigger scale.’  

Morgues overflow in New York county where up to 60 people are dying from coronavirus each day

Hospitals in Suffolk County have been scrambling to keep up with the high death rate. Pictured: Workers handle a body by a mobile morgue outside Good Samaritan Hospital

Morgues overflow in New York county where up to 60 people are dying from coronavirus each day

Southside Hospital in Bay Shore (pictured) increased its limited capacity from 305 beds to 418 beds before setting up a tent in the parking lot specifically for COVID-19 patients

Morgues overflow in New York county where up to 60 people are dying from coronavirus each day

Exacerbating the crisis in Suffolk County is an influx of wealthy families fleeing New York City for Long Island’s coveted beach towns to escape the coronavirus hotspot.

Dozens of people are seen on a beach in Sag Harbor late last month

Exacerbating the crisis in Suffolk County and neighboring Nassau County is an influx of wealthy families fleeing New York City for Long Island’s coveted beach towns to escape the coronavirus hotspot.  

Full-time residents of those towns have voiced concerns that the flood of so-called ‘coronavirus refugees’ would brought infection that much closer to their doorsteps while overwhelming already stretched resources.  

Late last month local leaders in four Hamptons communities wrote a letter to New York Governor Andrew urging him to ban the refugees from coming to Long Island.  

Morgues overflow in New York county where up to 60 people are dying from coronavirus each day Morgues overflow in New York county where up to 60 people are dying from coronavirus each day Morgues overflow in New York county where up to 60 people are dying from coronavirus each day