Dougherty Co. coroner brings back mobile morgue

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 9:25 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Mobile morgues have returned to Albany after an increase in Dougherty County deaths.

“We weren’t anticipating on ever using it again,” said Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler.

Fowler said requesting the mobile morgue is more of a precautionary measure.

“The way things are going now, every day you got a shooting or something going on. We definitely want to make sure we don’t run out of room of being able to store someone’s loved one,” explained Fowler.

Using it to store bodies from homicides, natural deaths, drug overdoses and COVID-19 deaths, Fowler said his office is preparing for the worst.

They ran out of room at the morgue at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital about two weeks ago, just as South Georgia experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases.

“I thought things were going to be better this year as far as the virus, but I see it’s getting worse again. We definitely need a place to put someone’s loved one,” said Fowler.

After working 24 major disasters, Fowler is no stranger to death, but working when disaster hits home, he said it takes a different toll.

“I know some of the people, they know me. And to be able to go see a family or loved one’s home and pronounce him dead, it was difficult,” Fowler told WALB News 10.

Fowler said there’s a big difference between last year’s COVID case hike and this year’s.

“Now we know, we are aware that we have the virus in our community and we know we have a vaccine,” said Fowler.

Fowler is hoping he won’t have to use the mobile morgue this time around.

“I hope we don’t have to open that door and let anyone in because I hope people take precautions and are wearing their masks and practicing social distance,” said Fowler.

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