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Baptist Health Jacksonville sets up refrigerated trailer to be used as mobile morgue amid rise in COVID cases

A spokesperson for Baptist Health confirmed the trailer will be used as a mobile morgue.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Baptist Health has set up a refrigerated trailer to be used as a mobile morgue at its Jacksonville location as the COVID-19 surge continues to bring in more patients.

In a statement sent to First Coast News, Baptist said the refrigerated trailer will be used by its five-hospital health system if needed.  

"As the COVID-19 surge continues, we have secured a refrigerated trailer to be used by our five-hospital health system if needed. The trailer is currently at our Baptist Jacksonville campus. Proactive planning and preparing should neither cause alarm nor speculation. Access to appropriate equipment, supplies and materials is critical as we go through the current COVID surge and hurricane season."

When First Coast News asked if the trailer has any other use than a mobile morgue, a spokesperson replied, ‘No’.

The hospital says it had a similar trailer during the previous COVID-19 surge last March.

As of Aug.12, Baptist has 566 COVID-19 patients, with 118 in the ICU. Baptist said 13 are children, and seven of those children are in the ICU.

Additionally, this is the 12th straight day Florida has set a new pandemic high for COVID-related hospitalizations with a total of 15,358 patients as of Aug. 12.

Credit: Baptist Health

Florida reported 24,753 new cases of COVID-19 for Aug. 10 to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state reported four new deaths, as well.

The number of total hospitalizations with confirmed cases of COVID-19 climbed to 15,071 patients as of Aug. 11, according to the Florida Hospital Association. This is yet another day that Florida has set a new pandemic high for COVID-related hospitalizations.

Governor Ron DeSantis held a news conference in Downtown Jacksonville Thursday to announce the opening of a rapid response unit that will administer monoclonal antibodies to patients using the drug Regeneron. 

DeSantis spoke about the benefits of the treatment that's credited with helping people fight the virus if given right after they test positive for COVID-19.

"There's clear benefits to this early treatment to keeping people out of the hospital and reducing mortality," DeSantis said. “This has just got to become part of the standard of care as you go forward."

DeSantis called the treatment another tool to fight a virus that isn't going away.