LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The lack of storage space for those who have died of the coronavirus forced the agency which regulates air quality across the Southland to issue an emergency order Sunday night lifting the limit on the number of cremations allowed.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) issued the emergency order temporarily suspending permit requirements for crematoriums.READ MORE: Family Of Marine Corps Veteran Fatally Shot By CHP Officer Files $15M Claim Against State
The order was issued at the request of both the Los Angeles County coroner’s office and the L.A. County Department of Public Health.
AQMD limits the number of cremations which can be conducted each month due to air quality regulations. However, the pandemic has caused the death rate across the region to more than double, which has put a strain on hospitals, funeral homes and crematoriums, the agency reported.READ MORE: San Bernardino Surpasses 3K Total COVID-19 Deaths, Ventura Nears 900
As of Jan. 15, more than 2,700 bodies are stored at both hospitals and the coroner’s office, according to the order. Several mobile morgues were set up earlier this month outside the coroner’s office.
“The current rate of death is more than double that of pre-pandemic years, leading to hospitals, funeral homes, and crematoriums exceeding capacity without the ability to process the backlog of cases,” AQMD said in a news release Sunday. “The L.A. County Medical-Examiner Coroner and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health have requested that South Coast AQMD suspend limits on cremations in order to protect public health and to respond to the current emergency.”
The order will be in effect for at least 10 days.MORE NEWS: Woman Shot In Robbery Targeting Owner Of Beverly Hills Jewelry Store
Through Sunday, L.A. County has reported 1,014,662 coronavirus cases and 13,848 deaths from the disease. According to the latest state numbers Monday, 7,328 people are hospitalized with the coronavirus in L.A. County. 23% of whom are in ICU beds.