Troup County purchases new, permanent morgue in response to demand from pandemic

Published 1:34 pm Friday, September 17, 2021

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Troup County has purchased a new, permanent morgue space due partly to the increased number of COVID-19 related deaths across the county and state.

The new facility will be installed and housed at Wellstar West Georgia Medical Center, according to a press release from the county. The installation of the 10×10 walk-in cooler will be purchased using CARES funds and will have the capability to store up to 15 bodies.

The delivery and installation of this new addition is expected to be completed within approximately 12 weeks, according to the press release.

Coroner Erin Hackley said the hospital has always allowed the coroner’s office to utilize its morgue facility, but due to limitations in the current morgue space they needed a bigger space, even if the pandemic wasn’t going on. Hackley said this has been an issue for years, but the need was expedited by the pandemic.

“The pandemic has just left it where we don’t have a choice but to go ahead and do it now,” Hackley said.

Hackley said when space is short at the morgue, she typically calls funeral homes in the county to see if they can help out. Recently, the answer has started being no because they are also dealing with similar space issues.

“I called all of the funeral homes in Troup County the other day when I needed help. Not one of them had space available,” Hackley said. “One of them had 13 bodies in they’re in their facility right then.”

The new morgue space will allow for roughly 15 bodies, up from about three or four in the current space, Hackley said. With the installation of a new morgue, the previous morgue space will be used as a backup.

Hackley said she was really thankful to the county and hospital for working to solve this issue.

“They really, really, really solved a big issue that we’ve really been facing for a couple of years impacted by what’s going on right now,” Hackley said. “I really appreciate their willingness to jump in and realize we really had a problem.”

Hackley said her office has been extremely busy this year. She said on Sept. 5 they’d already worked 21 calls, and they typically do 25 a month.