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Peoria County’s mobile morgue: Activated

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Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood

PEORIA (WEEK) -- A relocatable, mobile morgue in Peoria County has now been in use for two weeks ago.

Coroner Jamie Harwood said the rate of death right now simply outpaces their ability to process those deaths.

He said at the end of 2020, there were 3,461 deaths; 441 more than in 2019 – 195 of those deaths were COVID-related.

Harwood said despite the increase, his office can handle this.

“I want the point to be made we’re absolutely not in crisis. What we are doing is in the preparing phase, planning just in case we have a surge in those numbers. It’s my job as the coroner of Peoria County that we’re prepared for a surge in deaths and to have a place for people to go in a dignified manner, and that’s what we are doing right now,” said Harwood.

Harwood said there are other factors too. Among them: Peoria’s three hospitals take patients from all over the region. When someone dies, it might take a while to get that person to a funeral home outside of the Peoria area.

The delay creates a backup.

He also said a lot of families are delaying burials right now.

They want to wait until they can have a traditional service or they don’t have the money at the time.

Tyler Lopez

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