Wawa gives NJ a 53-foot refrigerated truck to be used as a morgue
refrigerated trailers at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
In a grisly development characteristic of the times, Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday announced that Wawa had donated a refrigerated truck to help store the bodies of people dying in hospitals.
The 53-foot truck will be used in Bergen County to "take pressure off" the morgues and funeral homes, which like hospitals, have been inundated in the past month.
The Pennsylvania-based convenience store chain said Wednesday that the truck will be New Jersey's to use as it needs — and to keep.
"Their help is invaluable. We're so thankful," Murphy said on Twitter.
New Jersey on Wednesday had counted 1,504 deaths since the beginning of March and more than 47,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the serious respiratory disease caused by the highly contagious novel coronavirus. The most severe and fatal symptoms tend to be suffered by older patients and those with other underlying health issues.
On Monday, State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan said the state had ordered 20 refrigerated trucks capable of storing more than 1,600 bodies.
An official in Hudson County, which had ordered two refrigerated trailers of its own, told The Jersey Journal this week that the bodies are not just of COVID-19 patients but also of other people who have died but whose funerals have been put on hold because of the social-distancing regulations.
During his daily briefings, Murphy has put the spotlight on private institutions and businesses for their donations and contributions.
On Wednesday, he also thanked the Disabled Veterans Chapter 2 in Clifton for donating 100 gas gift cars for emergency room healthcare workers. He also thanked Raritan Valley Community College and the Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School for creating 3D-printed face shields for workers at Robert Wood University Hospital in New Brunswick and its sister campus in Somerville.