Suffolk County may store coronavirus victims’ bodies in farm fridge if morgues fill

Long Island’s Suffolk County is planning to use a refrigerated farm building to store bodies of coronavirus victims once its morgues reach capacity.

Plans to convert the processing center on the Suffolk County Farm in Yaphank into a makeshift morgue come as the death toll in the county reached 266 and the number of confirmed cases topped 14,500.

“At the early stages of this crisis, we were having conversations about suggestions of using ice rinks and stores with refrigeration to store bodies,” County Executive Steve Bellone said in a statement.

“I made the decision that I was not going to tell families that we need to convert their children’s ice-skating rinks and turn them into morgues because that is not who we are.”

Ambulances and EMT workers in New York.
Ambulances and EMT workers in New York.Dennis A. Clark

Officials have already begun to convert the fridge on the county-owned farm, including by installing a system of rolling racks, Bellone’s spokesman Jason Elan told The Post.

“We don’t expect to utilize this building on the farm site at least until we’ve reached [morgue] capacity,” Elan said.

Suffolk’s morgues were at about half capacity on Tuesday. The county has also received a refrigerated trailer from the state, with another on the way, Elan said.

In an interview on Fox Tuesday morning, Bellone said Long Island had become the new “epicenter” of the crisis, with Suffolk seeing more than 1,000 new confirmed cases daily.

“I’ve said we are seven to 14 days behind what’s happening in New York City, but we can really see it in the numbers every day,” Bellone said on “America’s Newsroom.”

“We can see the death tolls, they are horrific. But we can’t see the emotional toll,” Bellone said. “That toll we won’t fully understand until after this is long done.”