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Ector County to buy building and cooler to store bodies using $88,000+ of CARES Act funds

The medical examiner’s office made the case that the county needs space to store bodies because...
The medical examiner’s office made the case that the county needs space to store bodies because the system they have now won’t work in the longterm.(Shane Battis)
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 5:07 PM CST
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ECTOR COUNTY, Texas (KOSA) -

The Ector County Commissioner’s Court approved a plan to buy a building and cooler for the medical examiner’s office to store bodies.

It’s going to cost the county $88,567.34, which will be covered by CARES Act money.

For months, a FEMA truck parked inside the Ector County Coliseum has been helping the county store bodies. The problem is the county doesn’t know how long they can count on that truck to stay.

When the truck leaves, the county can only rely on six spaces at Medical Center Hospital’s morgue plus whichever funeral homes can take bodies.

Ector County Chief Medical Examiner Ron Ingle said the system they have now isn’t dependable because the county has to rely on these businesses to take bodies and there may be times when they simply don’t have the space.

Ector County Judge Debi Hays said body storage has been a growing problem for years and will still be a problem after the coronavirus pandemic ends. However, she and the medical examiner only cited one incident where a body had to be taken to Tarrant County because there wasn’t enough space locally.

The new cooler and building to hold it would store up to 20 bodies.

Commissioner Greg Simmons was the only one who voted against buying the cooler. He suggested the court take more time to find another solution because he was concerned that the county was only willing to buy the cooler because it has the extra cares act dollars to spend.

Judge Hays said the new facility should be up and running in about four months.

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