Warehouse for body storage during COVID-19 pandemic is located in St. Paul

The warehouse can serve as a temporary morgue for 5,100 bodies.
Author:
Publish date:
body storage warehouse

Minnesota has completed the purchase of a 71,000-square-foot warehouse that will be used to store bodies during the course of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The building, a former Bix Produce warehouse in St. Paul, was purchased by the state for $5.5 million, though additional costs for building operations, maintenance and other expenses will bring the final price to $6.9 million. 

In a media call earlier this month, state officials said the reality is that because of social distancing, families who lose loved ones for a myriad of reasons haven't been able to hold proper memorials and funerals. That, coupled with increasing deaths from COVID-19, has led to medical facilities running out of room for bodies. 

"Because there's been a slowdown in the number of funerals and burials, for lack of a more delicate term, the storage in funeral homes and hospitals is, in some places, full and overflowing," said Joe Kelly, director of Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management, in a May 8 media briefing.

"We want to provide a facility where we can properly, safely and with the appropriate dignity and respect that we think we owe our fellow Minnesotans and their families, to temporarily store them until their families are ready to lay them to final rest."  

According to a request form from the Department of Administration, a survey of the state's funeral homes, medical examiner offices and hospitals found that the metro area has the capacity to store 1,262 bodies. The statewide capacity is 2,006 bodies. The request document, dated May 6, estimated that approximately 50% of the state's available storage was already filled. 

The warehouse provides overflow capacity, serving as a temporary morgue for up to 5,100 bodies. As of Wednesday, 777 people have died from COVID-19 in Minnesota since Mar. 21. 

The warehouse is located at 1415 L'Orient St. in St. Paul. 

An estimated 75% of the price is expected to be covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

Under Gov. Tim Walz's Stay Safe MN order, funerals and memorial services are limited to a maximum of 10 people, with social distancing guidelines expected to be followed. 

Next Up

closed sign

What's open and closed in Minnesota on Thanksgiving Day 2020?

Most services will not be running on Thursday and unlike most years, many stores will be closed, too.

PennyMomentos

How a turkey's brush with celebrity in Bloomington came to a tragic end

DNR: if you care about wild animals, stop feeding them

TCF Bank Stadium

Saturday's Gophers/Badgers football game canceled due to COVID-19 issues

The Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe will not take place for the first time since 1906.

coronavirus, Iowa

MN health officials don't think downside of COVID-19 peak has arrived

We could be in a trough between a series of waves, Jan Malcolm said.

covid-19, coronavirus

Wisconsin reports record 104 deaths from COVID-19 Tuesday

That's roughly 10% of the total in the nation in a 24-hour period.

Drywall

Husband and wife sentenced for fraud scheme through their drywall firm

The Annandale pair bilked an insurance company out of more than $300,000.

ambulance

4 pedestrians suffer life-threatening injuries after being struck by vehicle

Two vehicles crashed into a car that was on the side of the road after striking a deer.

Marcus Carr

Gophers season preview: New lineup, deeper bench, more questions

Mathew Goldstein takes a deep dive into the murky waters of the college hoops season.

20201107_vivir-1151-Edit

Photos: ViV!R, Minneapolis' new Mexican cafe and shop, is now open

The team behind the acclaimed Popol Vuh have opened the cafe in the same space.

MasklessJudgesinWiscoyTownship

At Wiscoy Township's sole precinct, election judges ditched masks

Voter and Wiscoy resident Kaitlyn O'Connor took a photo of the judges after asking them to wear masks, she said

Related

coronavirus, nurse

Minnesota buying $6.9M warehouse to store bodies during pandemic

The overflow is in part due to social distancing making proper funerals impossible.

Dr. Albasha

Twin Cities doctor dies from COVID-19

An online fundraiser aims to help return his body to Tanzania for burial.

PPE, coronavirus, covid-19

Here is the June 4 COVID-19 report for Minnesota

The death toll since March 21 has surpassed 1,100.

SARS-CoV-2, novel coronavirus

Coronavirus: 5 more deaths as the COVID-19 outbreak continues

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention says COVID-19 is widespread in Minnesota.

coronavirus, ICU, covid-19 hospital, doctor

Minnesota hits new daily highs for COVID-19 deaths, ICU patients

Anyone with symptoms is urged to get tested as soon as they can.

Keys

Prison inmate dies 19 days after testing positive for COVID-19

It's the first prison death due to COVID-19 in Minnesota.

coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, July 22

The update includes four new deaths, including one person in their 20s.