Refrigerator trucks serve as temporary morgues.

S.E. Williams | Executive Editor

Late last week a Kaiser employee (who did not wish to be identified) reached out to the IE Voice and Black Voice News to advise a temporary morgue was delivered to the facility where he worked. He was concerned about the rising death rates in the community and wanted to share what he had observed.

In an exclusive exchange with Kaiser Permanente (Kaiser) a spokesperson confirmed what the employee stated he witnessed and explained that “Kaiser Permanente is taking all necessary steps to meet the extraordinary challenges facing our 15 hospitals in Southern California caused by the surge in COVID-19 patients.”

As of Monday, Dec. 7, Kaiser had 1,003 cases being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals across Southern California, and hospitalizations were increasing.

“Unfortunately, not every patient will recover; some will not survive, and we have to be prepared for that possibility,” Kaiser told the IE Voice and Black Voice News.

“Due to the unprecedented demand being placed at local mortuaries and county morgues, temporary morgues have been brought in at several of our facilities,” the spokesperson said. “In the Inland Empire, mobile morgues are currently in place at Fontana, Ontario and Moreno Valley medical centers, and will be used as needed.”

The healthcare provider described the action as part of its commitment to meeting the health care needs of the communities it serves during these challenging times. “But Kaiser Permanente cannot fight this pandemic alone.”

The provider implored the public to help slow down the spread of the coronavirus to relieve stress on area hospitals by wearing masks, maintaining social distance, washing hands and avoiding gatherings outside of the immediate household.

“Following these simple guidelines and adhering to new statewide stay-at-home orders will reduce pressures on our frontline nurses and doctors and save lives this holiday season,” Kaiser said.

S.E. Williams is executive editor of the IE Voice and Black Voice News.