Somerset County leases space to store temporary morgue | Local News

SOMERSET — A temporary, portable morgue purchased by the Somerset County Corners office will be kept in permanent storage — in case future disasters require it, Somerset County officials said.

Purchased with CARES Act funds in 2020, the refrigeration unit will be stored for $550 a year in a commercial building at the back of 374 W. Main St., Somerset County Commissioners said.

In doing so, Berlin-based Darr Construction will receive $7,255 to assemble the unit and run electricity in the space whenever the unit is needed, the commissioners said.

“Fortunately, we haven’t needed to use it during the pandemic – but it gives us extra capacity,” he said. “He will be there when we need him.”

The county coroner’s office relies on a two-drawer system at UPMC Somerset, but coroner Cullen Swank said that in situations where multiple deaths occur and there is no next of kin notified , the temporary system might be needed.

The same is true for county funeral homes, which have seen a heavier caseload in recent years due to the opioid epidemic and, more recently, deaths from COVID-19.

If necessary, funeral homes could also use the morgue in an emergency, he said.

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @TDDavidHurst.

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @TDDavidHurst.