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Illinois

Peoria County Coroner Halts Use Of Mobile Morgue

Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood
Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood

Peoria County has discontinued use of a mobile morgue brought in amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coroner Jamie Harwood announced the release of the mobile morgue Tuesday, saying the post-holiday surge in COVID-related deaths was far less than anticipated and the need has diminished.

“That's what the good news is with the release, to be honest,” said Harwood. “We're seeing fewer people pass away at this time compared to October, November, December of last year. So hopefully we're in a good position where we're going to continue to see fewer fatalities related to the virus.”

The mobile morgue was offered through the EMS Region 2 Office of Disaster Preparedness. Harwood said the decision to end its use was made in conjunction with OSF HealthCare and other facilities.  

“Through the whole process, I kept in contact and in collaboration with OSF and we compared our status of our deceased and what they had in their morgue, and Unity Point, and when it became manageable, we decided it was no longer necessary,” he said.

Harwood said the mobile morgue never exceeded 10 deceased individuals. He said it served its purpose of easing concerns about running out of space.

“It was very helpful. When you get to a point where you're left scratching your head with, ‘Where we going to go next?’ or ‘What are we going to do next?’ Well, the good thing was we never had to ask ourselves that question,” said Harwood. “We always had the morgue set up so we wouldn't have to wonder how we were going to handle someone's loved one. It was readily available.”

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