Hidalgo County stores bodies in trucks as Texas sets one-day record for COVID-19 deaths

Refrigerated trailers are now operational in San Antonio. (City of San Antonio, KSAT)

HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas – Texas set a one-day record for deaths and hospitalizations Wednesday afternoon, and one Texas county is enforcing a stay-home order after bodies are being stored in refrigerated trucks, Reuters reported.

The state saw 197 deaths and 10,893 hospitalizations Wednesday, becoming one of the hardest states hit by COVID-19. Hidalgo County, located in south Texas, has seen a sharp rise in cases in the last week, according to Reuters.

Hidalgo County’s top health official, Dr. Ivan Melendez partly blamed Gov. Greg Abbott’s move to override local mandates for the spike in COVID-19 cases, which has overwhelmed the hospital system. He told Reuters that a stay-home order “is absolutely necessary at this point.”

Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez issued a shelter-in-place order, which placed him at odds with Gov. Abbott. He told Reuters that crematoriums have a wait list of two weeks, and with five refrigerated trucks in the county, they have a capacity of 50 bodies each.

“We’ve got to lasso this virus, this stallion, bring the numbers back down and get control of this thing,” Cortez told Reuters. “Because our hospitals – they’re war zones, they are really struggling right now.”

The U.S. topped 1,000 deaths in a single day for the first time since June. Texas, along with California and Florida remain the top three states where coronavirus cases are rising, Reuters reported.

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