Idaho morgues are running out of space for bodies as covid-19 deaths mount
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fairly easy
The dire situation in Idaho, one of the least vaccinated states in the country, is another grisly illustration of what happens when a state fails to contain infections.
Dave Salove has watched his morgue fill with bodies. Covid-19 victims have poured into the funeral home he runs in Boise, Idaho, in recent weeks, as the state contends with an unprecedented spike in deaths driven by the delta variant of the coronavirus. His 16-slot refrigeration room is over capacity. Other funeral homes have neared a tipping point, too.

© Kyle Green/For the Washington Post Dave Salove, managing partner at Cloverdale Funeral Home, stands outside a 53-foot refrigerated truck the funeral home has brought in to deal with a surge in bodies. (Kyle Green for The Washington Post)

Intent on avoiding the makeshift morgues that cropped up in the Northeast during the pandemic's first wave, Salove this week brought in a refrigerated trailer to hold the growing number of dead. By Friday, there were seven corpses inside, up from two the day before. Six more were on their way from another facility.

"I'd barely gotten it installed, and we had to start using it," Salove said. "Right now, we are seeing that spike."

As covid-19 deaths reach record highs in the state of 1.8 million, hard-hit areas are struggling to keep pace with the surge in victims. Some hospitals, funeral homes and coroners say they've been pushed to the limit. Some morticians have even started embalming bodies that wouldn't normally need the procedure so they don't have to refrigerate them, the Idaho Statesman reported.

The backlog is so bad in some places that people have had to wait weeks to cremate their loved ones.

"We're so far behind on cremations," said Lance Cox, owner of Bell Tower Funeral Home in Post Falls, Idaho. "That's really how it impacts the families the most. You can bring in backup refrigeration options in an emergency, but you can't bring in a backup crematory."

Others faced similar crises before the vaccines became widely available. Images of refrigerated trailers parked outside hospitals and funeral homes were seared into the nation's memory last spring when New…
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