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Investigation launched into make-shift morgue at Beaumont Wayne

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Posted at 9:11 AM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 11:21:21-04

Wayne County health inspectors have launched a investigation after discovering 50 bodies at a make-shift morgue Beaumont Wayne Hospital.

The investigation came after receiving a report that the hospital was storing deceased patient bodies in a vacant building on its campus.

Officials say on Tuesday afternoon, inspectors were allowed access to the building after first being turned away by hospital administrators.

"On Tuesday, after being initially turned away by hospital administrators Tuesday afternoon, county health inspectors we [sic] allowed access to the building and discovered a make-shift morgue in operation containing approximately 50 bodies," said Bill Nowling with the Wayne County Executive Office. "The Wayne County Health Division has launched an investigation to determine whether county health ordinances were violated by the hospital system."

According to Beaumont spokesperson Mark Geary, the health system received approval from the city of Wayne's Department of Community Development and Planning to change part of the vacant warehouse to a temporary makeshift morgue.

"Once we obtained approval, we worked quickly to ensure that part of the warehouse space could serve this temporary purpose in a safe, appropriate and respectful way," Geary said in a statement. "Beaumont continues to use the rest of the warehouse to store much needed supplies we distribute to our hospitals across metro Detroit."

As of Wednesday morning, 2,700 deaths and 32,967 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported in Michigan.

Read the full statements below:

Statement from Mark Geary, Beaumont spokesperson

“In early April, as the COVID-19 crisis peaked, Beaumont obtained approvals from the City of Wayne’s Department of Community Development and Planning, Building Department and Fire Marshall to convert part of a warehouse into a temporary morgue. Once we obtained approval, we worked quickly to ensure that part of the warehouse space could serve this temporary purpose in a safe, appropriate and respectful way. Beaumont continues to use the rest of the warehouse to store much needed supplies we distribute to our hospitals across metro Detroit.

Yesterday, without advanced notice, without being able to explain their purpose, and without appropriately fitting PPE to protect themselves from the coronavirus, various individuals demanded entry into the warehouse. These individuals were later shown photographs of the temporary morgue setup. The purpose of their visit remains unclear.”

Statement from Bill Nowling, Wayne County spokesperson

"On Monday,, the Wayne County Health Division recieved a report that Beaumont Wayne was storing dead bodies in a vacant building on its campus. On Tuesday, after being initially turned away by hospital administrators Tuesday afternoon, county health inspectors we allowed access to the building and discovered a make-shift morgue in operation containing approximately 50 bodies. The Wayne County Health Division has launched an investigation to determine whether county health ordinances were violated by the hospital system."