Officials plan for worst-case scenario

BROWNSVILLE — The county’s emergency management officials are planning for a worst-case scenario as hospitals fill up with patients suffering COVID-19 complications.

About two weeks ago, Cameron County purchased a 53-foot refrigerated trailer in case its portable morgue can’t hold the bodies of patients who die as a result of COVID- 19 complications.

“It’s for expired COVID-positive patients,” Juan Martinez, the Cameron County Emergency Management department’s operations section chief, said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, emergency management officials continue to keep a portable morgue on stand-by in case the county’s morgue fills over capacity, he said.

“Our job is to look forward and plan for any kind of outcome,” Martinez said, adding he didn’t have information regarding the trailer’s purchase price readily available.

“We’ve always had a portable morgue,” he said. “We have purchased more capacity in the event that it’s needed — a trailer. It’s just there in case we need it. We want to stay ahead of anything. Our hope is we never have to use it.”

Officials use the portable morgue, with a capacity of about 24 bodies, to hold bodies when the county’s morgue reaches capacity, Martinez said.

“The morgue holds very few bodies and can fill very quickly,” he said, referring to the county’s morgue, which can hold as many as five bodies.

Martinez said he didn’t have information regarding the trailer’s capacity readily available.