This is where the effects of the global pandemic hit home here in Michigan. Statistics on a computer or TV screen are just numbers. Victims of the killer coronavirus are the real manifestations of those emotionless numbers.

The State of Michigan says for the first time ever, it has activated the Michigan Mortuary Response Team. What that is, is about 40 volunteers from, and there's no good way to say this, death related fields, to help coordinate and facilitate the overwhelming number of deaths from the coronvirus. Recent COVID-19 figures put the death toll in Michigan at approximately 3,500.

The MI-MORT volunteers come from a group of medical examiners and investigators, (in Michigan, when you die, someone has to legally pronounce you dead.) funeral directors, cops, and even clergy and chaplains.

“This is a challenging time for health care facilities and families across our state, particularly those experiencing loss. Michiganders who lose a loved one as a result of COVID-19 shouldn’t have to worry about whether they can make final arrangements,” said Timothy Schramm, funeral director for Howe-Peterson and commander of MI-MORT. “Our volunteers are dedicated to providing comfort and reassurance that a person’s remains are safe and properly, professionally handled as quickly as possible at every step.” - Michigan State Emergency Operations Center.

For background information, MI-MORT was put together about a decade ago, training for a variety of circumstances, though maybe not on the scale of the global pandemic currently being experienced by everyone.

One of the final sentences in release seems to grasp the enormity of the situation: "A private and secure central collection center has been established to provide security and privacy for patients who died, their families and the local funeral homes."

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A Nearly Empty Kalamazoo



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