09:59 GMT02 December 2020
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    According to US government data, the country has now registered over 12 million confirmed cases of coronavirus. Over 1 million of those have been recorded in Texas, the American state most affected by the virus so far.

    A team of 36 Texas National Guard personnel were sent to El Paso County to assist morgues with “mortuary affairs” beginning on Saturday, as COVID-related deaths have been on the rise in the state, according to a statement from the Texas Division of Emergency Management, as cited by the El Paso Times.

    As of Friday, Texas had registered over 20,000 deaths from coronavirus-related complications. Nearly a thousand of them occurred in El Paso County alone, which has tallied 80,291 COVID-19 cases so far.

    El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said in a published letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that the community was facing an “unimaginable crisis.” He also thanked the state officials for assistance the National Guard had promised with “fatality management”.

    “As of today, our Medical Examiner’s Office is reporting that 234 fatalities are being held at our main morgue and at our nine mobile morgues,” he wrote on Friday.

    “My sense of urgency is to continue to do everything possible to maintain the integrity and dignity of our fellow El Pasoans who have been lost to this virus.”

    According to El Paso’s Mayor Dee Margo, the city and county have now “secured a central morgue location to further support the Medical Examiner's Office, funeral homes, and mortuaries with additional capacity.”

    "As we've seen a rapid increase in cases and hospitalisations, we are unfortunately also seeing a spike in deaths," the mayor said in a statement. "The Texas Military will provide us with the critical personnel to carry out our fatality management plan and we are very grateful to them for their ongoing support."

    The country has also been hiring temporary morgue attendants and administrative assistants to help with processing the deceased ones. According to the job advert listed by Office of the Medical Examiner, the workers will be provided with “maximum PPE” and will receive a minimum of $27.20 per hour.

    coronavirus, COVID-19, El Paso, Texas, United States
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