Pueblo County deploys refrigerated truck to store bodies as COVID-19 deaths increase statewide

The Pueblo County Coroner’s Office said Tuesday that it has set up a mobile morgue in a semitrailer to store extra bodies as COVID-19 deaths continue to climb across Colorado.

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The use of the refrigerated truck comes just a day after hope reverberated throughout the state with the arrival of the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, but reflects just how deadly the third wave of the pandemic has become.

Colorado’s health department has recorded more than 4,000 COVID-related deaths since the pandemic began, most of which are directly due to the disease. More than one in four of the state’s total deaths — or 999 fatalities — occurred within a three-week period ending on Dec. 6.

Pueblo has one of the highest COVID-19 death rates in Colorado, recording 141 fatalities per 100,000 people. In Denver, the death rate is 84.9 per 100,000 people, according to the state Department of Public Health and Environment.

The refrigerator truck will help health care providers, funeral homes and others in the county temporarily store bodies, according to the coroner’s office.

“It will be used for the short-term storage of recently deceased persons awaiting final arrangements,” the Pueblo County Coroner’s Office said in a tweet.

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The coroner could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

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