Incarcerated prison inmates are assisting with the overflow of bodies. They are awaiting an autopsy in the morgue in El Paso. The morgue in El Paso has so many people dying from COVID-19.
Chris Acosta, who is a spokesperson for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, said “trustees refused to work unless they receive money” They’re making $2 per hour. Typically, these inmates do work in the community typically goes unpaid.
Therefore, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., between four and eight inmates from the detention facility’s trustee program are volunteering. Moreover, these inmates doing the work are misdemeanor offenders as well as those in minimum custody. However, the shifts started Monday, Acosta said.
The exact nature of the work these inmates are doing at the morgues is not exactly known according to Acosta. However, she said that the inmates, one deputy, and two detention officers wear personal protective equipment.
Therefore, mobile morgues will set up outside the medical examiner’s office. The images and video show the trustees moving bodies to eight, soon to be 10.
The county awaits the arrival of the National Guard as this is a temporary assignment for the inmates.
Since September, the number of coronavirus patients in hospitals in the far West Texas city got up nearly tenfold since the start of September. Earlier in November, the Department of Defense sent medical teams to help. Local funeral homes are readying extra refrigerated storage space.
On Thursday and Friday, El Paso County recorded a total of 45 new deaths caused by the virus. There were about 1,105 people are in the hospital. Those included 319 in intensive care, according to the latest city statistics.
In the courts, sowing some confusion, have bounced around in the courts, attempts by city and county officials to shut down nonessential businesses to try to slow the spread of the virus, Acosta said.
“A lot of the businesses have been calling my office, ‘Do I shutdown or not shutdown?’ People don’t know what to do. We’re just trying to follow the judge’s ruling and follow the law,” she said.