For Immediate Release
April 8, 2020
INDIANAPOLIS – In an effort to support hospitals and long term care facilities, the Marion County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) announced today that a temporary morgue facility has been secured, to be used in the event of hospital morgue overflow during the expected surge in COVID-19 patients.
“Our first priority remains slowing the spread of COVID-19 and ensuring a high level of care for the individuals who may contract it, but protecting the health of our community also means preparing for a potential increase in deaths over the coming weeks” said Virginia A. Caine, M.D., Director and Chief Medical Officer of the Marion County Public Health Department. “While we hope much of what we are planning for is never needed, we must do everything we can to ensure Indianapolis first responders, health care workers, and coroners all have the tools, personal protective equipment, and facilities they need to serve residents through any scenario.”
Located near downtown Indianapolis, the temporary overflow morgue will be available beginning tomorrow and will be staffed by the Marion County Coroner’s Office. The building will be open for intake of decedents 24 hours per day, with funeral homes able to pick up decedents between 7am and 11pm. If needed, the capacity of the overflow morgue facility could allow for upwards of 750 decedents.
“Being prepared to respond to an unprecedented public health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic requires a new level of collaboration among public health and public safety agencies,” said Dr. Lee Sloan, Marion County Coroner. “Securing and standing up this temporary overflow morgue is just one example of the ways we are all working together to best provide for the needs of affected families during these challenging times.”
The Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD), the Marion County Coroner’s Office, the Managed Emergency Surge for Healthcare (MESH) Coalition, and the City’s Office of Public Health and Safety led the effort to establish the facility. Securing the building was part of ongoing planning and preparation efforts of the public health, safety, and service agencies that are coordinating the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Marion County EOC. These agencies are also working to coordinate a site for medical surge, care for individuals experiencing homelessness during the pandemic, and implement and update policies that minimize unnecessary exposure between first responders, health care professionals, and the public. Other efforts include setting up the drive-through COVID-19 testing for frontline essential employees at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, as well as facilitating procurement and transportation of personal protective equipment (PPE) for first responders and healthcare workers in Marion County.
Residents and affected workers impacted by COVID-19 restrictions should visit the city’s resource guide, which can be viewed at indy.gov/covid. Spanish speaking residents can view the resource guide here. Individuals who are unable to navigate the city’s website can call 317-327-4MAC between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to talk to a customer service representative. Those in need of non-emergency police services should call 317-327-3811. Residents not currently experiencing an emergency who have questions about COVID-19 are asked to call 1-877-826-0011.
For More Information:
Chief Communications Officer
IMPD & the Emergency Operations Center – City of Indianapolis