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

Flickr - state capitol minneosta - Ken Lund

Criminal charges possible for woman who drove on State Capitol grounds

She drove on the sidewalk and lawn, and at one point waved a large "Trump 2020" flag out the window.

training camp

10 things fans should know before going to Vikings training camp

Masks are not required, but strongly encouraged for the unvaccinated.

4852014184_b86eb6b123_k

Cases of COVID-19 linked to Provincetown outbreak found in Minnesota

There have been more than 550 cases linked to the Massachusetts tourist destination since the 4th of July weekend.

Aaron Rodgers

Reports: Aaron Rodgers set for at least one more year with the Packers

Both sides showing signs of optimism just before training camp begins.

Twitter - KARE 11 jeopardy screengrab

KARE 11 crew teases upcoming 'Jeopardy!' cameo

Some familiar local faces will be providing contestants with "Minneapolis News" clues.

Screen Shot 2021-07-26 at 1.41.24 PM

Second victim of deadly crash in Orono is identified

The crash also was fatal for the son of Gophers hockey coach Bob Motzko.

Witzmann and Coleman

Ex-Viking and ex-Gopher could be contestants for Edina's 'Bachelorette'

Michelle Young, a teacher from Edina, is the show's Season 18 star.

Mayo clinic

Mayo Clinic will require COVID-19 vaccines for all its staff

Those who decline will be required to wear masks and socially distance while on campus.

John Thompson

Rep. John Thompson once again rejects calls to resign

He spoke briefly Monday morning at a press conference organized by his supporters.

Related

Body storage warehouse

Body storage warehouse 'ready if needed for COVID-19 fatality management'

The warehouse is currently storing PPE and testing supplies.

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.