THA orders 20-foot container to store bodies

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Chief Secretary Farley Augustine speaks to the media at a press conference in Scarborough on Wednesday. – THA

A 20-foot container which can hold 45 bodies will be installed at the Scarborough General Hospital mortuary within the next few days.

THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine announced this during the weekly post-Executive Council news conference held virtually on Wednesday.

He said the container is being prepared for installation at the hospital between Friday and over the weekend.

This is because the morgue is full.

“We’re still trying to squeeze up dead in one tray. If you’re fat, then you alone have to hold in one tray.

“We have more dead than we can hold at the morgue, which means that far too many of our people are dying from this disease.”

Augustine also apologised to the family of covid19 victim Narupa Ramsumair whose funeral on Monday was postponed to Tuesday after staff at the morgue failed to locate her body in time. He said staff at the hospital are overworked and tired.

He said in addition, the scale of covid19 infections in Tobago is affecting the ability to deliver healthcare for other conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart-related cases and cancer, as well as those in need of simple procedures.

“We have surgeries on hold and I’m saying to you that whether you choose to get vaccinated or not, if you choose to be irresponsible, what would happen is that you can possibly end up dead.”

He said not only is the morgue full, but so too are the public cemeteries in and around Scarborough.

“Buccoo and Bacolet in particular – we have to start looking for space for new land to bury people.”

Additionally, the families of the dead are being asked to take their loved ones quickly.

“The Tobago I know sees a funeral and the burial of loved ones as something that is extremely sacred, something that you know we always want to celebrate the life of a loved one and we celebrate in a particular way.”

But, he said, if people die of covid19 and the family is at home in quarantine, “They begging because they don’t want to bury the dead because they can’t come to the funeral and they want to wait until they come out of quarantine to bury the dead.”That, he said, was causing a backlog.

There have been 174 covid19 deaths in Tobago since the first was recorded in April 2020.

He urged Tobagonians: “We have to do better when it comes to this covid19 situation.”

Augustine warned, however, that being vaccinated is not an excuse to be careless.

“Being vaccinated does not mean that you should show up in every private zess, it doesn’t mean that you should hold private zess.”

He said as the island enters the Christmas period, gatherings should be limited to family.

“I am begging you: keep your celebrations to the family within your household, please. Don’t keep no large parties, try to contain your celebrations within your household. Ensure that with your household, you have your family there, the family that you sleep with in the same house. Do your best, make the Christmas bright and merry within your household. Have fun, play games, laugh, watch movies together, watch some Hallmark (movies),”But please, I beg of you, protect yourself.”