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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Mississippi drawing national headlines over concerns about trends of surge of COVID-19 cases and deaths

Mid-South coroners say their morgues are at capacity, overwhelmed.

MISSISSIPPI, USA — "I'm full here in Marshall County, trying to wait to get bodies down for autopsies," Marshall County Coroner James Anderson said.

For the first time in 14 years on the job as coroner, Anderson said his morgue is at full capacity.

"If something happened today, trying to figure out, what would I do with this body?" Anderson said.

He said with a backlog at the state's medical examiner's office, he's concerned about additional COVID-19 related deaths that would force him to temporarily store bodies at funeral homes.

"Someone's loved one might go, 'why is my loved one not here', not with you?" Anderson said. "So I pray and hope that it won't happen."

An article in The Daily beast Sunday quoted the Panola County coroner with a full morgue all of last week, following Mississippi finishing second among all states last week per capita in COVID-19 related deaths.

This weekend, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute also tweeted his concerns about Mississippi's recent trends of fewer COVID-19 tests, higher positivity rates and an uptick in deaths and questioned whether children could learn in-person safely.

The office of Gov. Tate Reeves did not respond to Local 24 News question for comment.

There is not a statewide mask mandate in Mississippi, but Gov. Reeves did put such a mask ordinance in place in dozens of the more populated Magnolia State counties.