With Covid-19 surging across the state, Texas has requested five mortuary trailers from the federal government in anticipation of an influx of dead bodies, state officials told NBC News.
The mortuary trailers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be stationed in San Antonio and sent around the state upon the request of local officials.
Department of State Health Services spokesman Doug Loveday said the trailers were requested on Aug. 4 after officials reviewed data on increasing fatalities as a third wave of the virus struck the state.
“We are anticipating a need within the state of Texas for these trailers as COVID cases and hospitalizations continue to increase,” Loveday said.
Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman from the same agency, said the request was made as a precaution.
“We haven’t gotten any local requests but we want to be ready with the COVID cases in the state,” said Van Deusen. “We didn’t want to wait.”
Bruce Davidson, a spokesperson for San Antonio mayor Ron Nirenberg, was not aware of the request but said it “makes sense,” adding: “Deaths are starting to mount for sure.”
FEMA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Texas recorded 144 new deaths on Aug. 14, according to the latest available data. Over the last seven days, there was a daily average of 80 deaths per day in Texas, according to CDC data. The last time Texas’ seven-day average of COVID deaths was that high was March 16, 2020.
The office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott did not respond to a request for comment about the need for mortuary trailers.
On Friday, Abbott announced nine new centers statewide for COVID patients to obtain monoclonal antibody infusions. The therapeutic drugs made by Regeneron have been shown to prevent hospitalization among less severe COVID-19 cases if given within 10 days of the onset of symptoms.
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