Texas National Guard troops arrive to help at El Paso’s morgue amid virus death surge
EL PASO, Texas — A 36-member Texas National Guard team arrived in El Paso on Saturday to assist the county morgue with the growing number of dead as a result of Covid-19.
“The Texas Military will provide us with the critical personnel to carry out our fatality management plan and we are very grateful to them for their ongoing support,” El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said of the guard deployment to the Sun City.
The pandemic is blamed for 853 deaths in El Paso County as of Saturday, including more than 300 since October. Jail inmates were being paid to move bodies and county leaders are in the process of hiring temporary morgue workers at a rate of $27 an hour.
Statewide, the Texas health department on Saturday reported a one-day high of 12,597 new virus cases, nearly 20,500 dead since the pandemic began and more than 8,200 virus hospitalizations.
Meantime, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego has asked Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to support a 10 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew in the county as mortuaries continue to be overwhelmed. The medical examiner’s office reported that at least 240 bodies were being held at the main morgue and nine mobile morgues.
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