NEW YORK - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, without getting into details, admitted Monday that the city is considering temporarily burying coronavirus victims to relieve some of the pressure on the system due to large numbers of deaths.
As of Monday morning, New York City had more than 2,400 coronavirus deaths reported.
"If we need to do temporary burials to tide us over to pass the crisis and then work with each family on their appropriate arrangements, we have the ability to do that," de Blasio said at a news conference at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
A previously produced disaster manual for a possible influenza pandemic that was put together by the Medical Examiner called for mass burials on a 101-acre area on Hart Island, located off City Island in the Bronx, if the city became overwhelmed with bodies.
The mayor said the city was not near that point at this time.
"The focus right now is to get through this crisis and saving those we can save," de Blasio said. "We will have the capacity for temporary burials."
Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the New York City Health Commissioner, said there are no special precautions that need to be taken for people who have died from COVID-19. She said someone who dies form the virus is treated the same way as someone who has died from a heart attack.
Hospitals are already using refrigerated trucks to temporarily store bodies of victims.