Coroner says body storage not a crisis in Lafayette County

Published 4:32 pm Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Many morgues in the state of Mississippi are experiencing a storage crisis due to COVID-19 related deaths. However, Lafayette County is currently not.

According to an article written by the Vicksburg Post, Warren County Coroner Doug Huskey made a request to Warren County Board of Supervisors to purchase morgue refrigeration units as his office didn’t have a place to put the bodies of those that had died from COVID-19.

According to Coroner Rocky Kennedy, Lafayette County doesn’t have a morgue, but the Board of Supervisors are in the process of discussing and planning for a facility in the future.

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Kennedy says that unless an autopsy is requested, the funeral home assumes care of the person who has died.

“The process of funeral home selection, custody and care is consistent if a death is due to COVID-19, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, cancer, pneumonia, the flu or any other co-morbidities that contributed to the death,” he said.

County Coroner Offices in Mississippi have often times run out of space at the morgue. The lack of space has caused many to rely on the purchasing of morgue refrigeration units.

“My office currently relies on the use of storage in facilities at Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi or in coordination with the local funeral homes who have morgue storage availability,” Kennedy said. “In spite of recent publications that have circulated regarding morgue storage in Mississippi, we have not experienced a storage crisis during the current wave of COVID-19 related deaths.”

According to the most recent data of Cumulative Cases and Deaths by County provided by the Mississippi State Department of Health, there are 38 listed deaths in Lafayette County.

“We have been contacted for COVID related deaths of residents from other Mississippi counties that were receiving medical care in Lafayette County at the time of death,” Kennedy said. “We are unable to provide the data for publication in accordance with HIPAA Laws.”