East Tennessee morgue reaches capacity, Ballad Health to use mobile morgue


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Ballad Health said the morgue at Johnson City Medical Center has reached capacity and the hospital will likely have to use a refrigerated morgue trailer parked at the facility.

Hospital workers may begin using the mobile morgue as soon as Thursday night, according to Ballad.

The health system announced Wednesday it had requested a second morgue truck to be stationed in Kingsport. The mobile morgues were ordered due to increasing COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in the region.

Johnson City Medical Center’s morgue has a capacity of seven bodies, according to a spokesperson.

Ballad says the mobile morgue holds between 48 and 60 bodies.

There are currently nine morgue trailers in Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. Three are in West Tennessee, four in Middle Tennessee, and two in East Tennessee — one in Johnson City and the other in Knoxville.

TEMA said the trailers were pre-positioned in late March to early April during the onset of the pandemic.

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