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County medical examiner supports San Diego hospitals as their morgues reach capacity

Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa found its morgue exceeding capacity, as five bodies were transported to the county medical examiner's complex in Kearny Mesa.

SAN DIEGO — Several San Diego hospitals are reporting their morgues are reaching capacity, as the COVID-19 death toll climbs.

Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa found its morgue exceeding capacity, as five bodies were transported to the county medical examiner's complex in Kearny Mesa for storage until they could be transferred to mortuaries.

One of the five emergency refrigeration containers brought to San Diego last spring when the Coronavirus outbreak began was used as a portable morgue for the first time over the weekend by the San Diego County Medical Examiner's office.

A professor with the New England Complex Systems Institute said we need to work harder at protecting ourselves and our families and friends. He's hopeful the vaccine will help, but doesn't see it as foolproof or immediate.

"It's very likely to get worse. It'll get worse as long as we keep doing the things that are keeping making it worse,” said Professor Yaneer Bar-Yam. "We're six months away from slowing down the virus using vaccine and we're 12 months before we have a chance of stopping it."

He thinks strict guidelines will yield amazing results.

"Within a month, we could be down by a factor of 100. Down from tens of thousands of cases to a few hundred cases in California,” continued Bar-Yam.

There have been fluctuations in the number of fatalities each day and we contacted our local hospitals and received the following statements for Tuesday, December 29:

Scripps Health

"At Scripps Health, two of our hospital morgues reached capacity recently, and we reached out to local mortuaries for help. We are now working with the medical examiner's office to take bodies we don't have room for in our hospital morgues."

Palomar Health 

"Our's is at capacity as well."

Sharp Healthcare

"The numbers fluctuate. As of today, all four of our hospitals are not at capacity and are ok."

UC San Diego

"This is not an issue at U C San Diego Health."



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