Augusta Health sees increasing mortality rates, putting mobile morgue to use

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 4:39 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the Shenandoah Valley, and Augusta Health reports increasing mortality rates.

As the delta variant takes hold, hospital officials say they don’t have the capacity for the caseload.

Since the start of the pandemic, Augusta Health has reported 215 deaths. 23 of those are from the last month, and 11 are from the last week.

Augusta Health’s Assistant Vice President of Professional Services Scott Crabtree says they brought their mobile morgue back, but as of Sept. 10, it had never been touched.

Now, they’ve had to put it into use, officials report.

“Our existing morgue doesn’t have the capability, or the capacity if you will, to receive that number of deceased,” Mary Mannix, Augusta Health President and C.E.O. said.

Mannix says deaths are increasing across all age groups.

“It’s a very sad situation. We have seen obviously an increase in the number of mortalities, and sadly in all decades of life now. It’s not just mortality associated with people who are older than 65. We’ve lost 20-year-olds,” Mannix said.

Mannix says deaths due to COVID-19 are largely preventable.

“These deaths could have been prevented if we had a higher vaccination rate in our community. That’s what we find frustrating,” Mannix said.

As COVID-19 cases rise, they expect COVID positive patient intake to increase, too.

“Our COVID census ranges between 60 and 70. If this surge continues and prevalence continues to rise and if testing positivity rate continues to rise, our projections indicate that our census will go from 70 to somewhere between 90 and 100,” Mannix said.

For more information about COVID-19 and Augusta Health, check out their latest update.

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