WENATCHEE — Chelan County commissioners on Monday OK’d buying a mobile morgue expansion trailer for up to $80,000.

Central Washington Hospital’s morgue has capacity for three bodies and reached capacity on Sept. 25 after the hospital saw 11 deaths in about three days. Chelan County Coroner Wayne Harris said on Monday that the hospital’s morgue is too small.

“I was in the funeral business for 25 years, and I’ve never seen a hospital morgue cooler not bigger than three,” Harris said. “I’ve been in thousands of hospitals in my career. Every death in the hospital is the hospital’s responsibility to store in the cooler. That’s their responsibility.”

Andrew Canning, Confluence Health spokesperson, was not available for comment.

Harris said at the commissioner’s Monday meeting that he hoped the county could get ahead of the issue in the event of another disaster.

The ideal solution would be to permanently expand the county’s morgue but there is no available space on the county’s campus to do so, Harris said.

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Oscar Rodriguez: (509) 665-1179

rodriguez@wenatcheeworld.com