Texas requests 5 FEMA morgue trailers in anticipation of COVID-19 fatality surge

Morgue truck in El Paso
Morgue truck in El Paso Mario Tama/Getty Image

Texas has requested five mortuary trailers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in anticipation of a spike in COVID-19 deaths as the Delta variant continues to take its toll, Texas Department of State Health Services spokesman Doug Loveday tells NBC News. He said the request was put in Aug. 4, because "we are anticipating a need within the state of Texas for these trailers as COVID cases and hospitalizations continue to increase."

The five morge trailers will be based in San Antonio and moved to other cities as needed, and the health services department said they were requested as a precautionary measure. San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg was not aware of the state's request, but it "makes sense," spokesman Bruce Davidson said. "Deaths are starting to mount for sure." Texas is averaging 80 COVID-19 deaths a day, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

Neighboring Louisiana is one of four states that have hit pandemic-high COVID-19 infections, along with Oregon, Hawaii, Florida, and Mississippi, CNBC reports. Louisiana had a nation-high per capital infection rate of 126 cases per 100,000 residents, followed closely by Florida and Mississippi, and "about 1 of every 1,600 Louisiana residents is currently in a hospital bed with COVID, and more are arriving each day," The Advocate reports.

"We are rapidly getting to the point where we could have a major failure of our health care delivery system," Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said Friday. "There's some people out there whose care is being delayed to the point where, for them, it's already failed."

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