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El Paso funeral homes working with hospitals to clear morgue space amid pandemic, rising deaths

EL PASO, Texas -- El Paso hospitals may be starting to feel the impact of the death toll related to Covid-19 in the form of space in their morgues.

In what has been a record setting week for El Paso, the city has seen the death toll related to the virus explode by almost 20 fatalities.

When you consider the added deaths brought on by the coronavirus and you add those to the number of deaths hospitals see on a daily basis it's clear to see why this partnership is so important.

"The medical examiner, the doctors, they are helping us a lot so we are working hand in hand to just have everything expedited. So, we can have that case transported to our crematorium immediately," explained Jorge Ortiz, the general manager of Perches Funeral Home.

Perches Funeral homes is one of the many in the city that are working with area hospitals to expedite the process it takes to clear out the morgues.

"We are expanding so that we can have more space here locally in El Paso because we not only have a lot of regular deaths, but we are also dealing with a lot of transports to Mexico and we are also dealing with a lot of Covid-19 cases," Ortiz said.

Another local group is also helping in a big way during this difficult time. Operation Hope is helping ease the financial burden of saying goodbye to a loved one by helping pay for those funeral services.

"These people are making arrangements via email. They can’t make the arrangements themselves because they are in quarantine. It's just a hard situation that I just don’t wish upon anybody, but unfortunately we have to go through that," said Angel Gomez of Operation Hope.

While saying goodbye to a loved one is never easy, the thought of doing so from a social distance makes the process even harder. The workers at funeral homes have to take Covid-19 into consideration when dealing with a death, making their job more challenging than ever.

"You ought to see what these guys go through to embalm a body with Covid. They embalm the body, get the body out into the coolers, then they have to disinfect the entire cooler whether they used an instrument or not. Everything has to be disinfected and its a little bit more dangerous," Gomez said.

To donate to Operation Hope in their cause to help pay for funeral services feel free to click on this link.

Coronavirus / Coronavirus Video / El Paso / Health / Top Stories / Video

JC Navarrete

El Paso native JC Navarrete co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend newscasts and reports during the week.


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