SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) -Mayor Ron Nirenberg has confirmed that refrigerated trucks are on standby to hold bodies as the number of COVID-19 deaths continues to rise.

“It sounds terrible, but it’s true,”  said Dr. Ken Davis, chief medical officer at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System.”We’re looking ourselves for refrigerated trucks to put bodies and hold them until the morgue or the funeral home can come pick them up.”

Eleven more coronavirus-related deaths were reported Monday with the victims ranging in age from 40 to 80.  Six were Hispanic and five were White. Most had underlying conditions.  The death count stands at 195.

“It’s a hard thing to talk about when people’s loved ones are dying, but in the hospital, there are only so many places to put bodies of the loved ones, and we’re out of space,” Davis said at Monday’s COVID-19 briefing.

With the number of hospitalized patients on the rise, Davis says they need those hospital beds.  San Antonio Metro Health reported 565 new cases Monday, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 20, 213 in Bexar County.   The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 is 1,267.  Of those, 421 are in intensive care and 257 are using ventilators.  Ten percent of staffed beds are available in local hospitals.

Some patients are being sent home with oxygen machines and monitoring equipment to make room at hospitals for seriously ill COVID-19 patients.

“Many can manage at home with home care and oxygen instead of being hospitalized and that’s helped us open up more beds,” said Davis.  “I think that’s one reason we’ve been able to manage more of the surge here.”

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