US Texas assists El Paso County with mortuary services amid pandemic_china

Remigio Civitarese
Novembre 23, 2020

While the community work these inmates perform typically goes unpaid, Chris Acosta, a spokesperson for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, said "trustees refused to work unless they were compensated".

They ended up hiring inmates so they could assist experts with the overflow of bodies that are waiting for an autopsy. Those prisoners were paid well below $2 an hour for thier work.

"The work is 100% voluntary", she said.

The county medical examiner's office had 247 bodies at its morgue and inside nine refrigerated trailers as of Thursday, the El Paso Times reported.

Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, a policy think tank, shared a video of the inmates carrying out the "tough" work on Twitter.

He added: "These inmates were only supposed to work weekdays, but now needed to work weekends as well".

The Texas National Guard has sent a 36-member team to El Paso to assist morgues in the border region with the number of dead as a result of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

The shifts, according to Acosta, started Monday.

Official figures showed that El Paso County has reported over 16,000 new cases in the last two weeks, thousands more than the numbers reported for the much larger counties.

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