CHICAGO — Cook County has sent trailers to area hospitals to help their morgues as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths soar.
The county recorded its 13,000th person to die from COVID-19 on Wednesday — the grim milestone coming just six weeks after Cook County saw its 12,000th COVID-19 victim die, according to a news release.
That marked a quickening pace of deaths, as it had taken more than three and a half months for Cook County to go from 11,000 death from COVID-19 to 12,000 dead, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The city, county, state and country have seen COVID-19 cases rising for more than a month. The rise has particularly taken off with the Omicron variant, which is thought to be significantly more contagious than other mutations of the virus.
With the rise has come a surge in people being hospitalized and dying.
Now, Cook County is seeing the most COVID-19 deaths — including 254 for the week of Dec. 27 — since before vaccines were available, according to the county morgue. Officials have said the majority of people being hospitalized with and dying from COVID-19 are not fully vaccinated.
To deal with the surge in people dying, the Cook County Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security has “begun to deploy trailers to area hospitals to help decompress their morgues if necessary,” according to the Medical Examiner’s Office.
About 48 percent — or 6,271 — of the county’s COVID-19 deaths have been in Chicago residents, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office.
The youngest Cook County resident to die of COVID-19 was just 9 months old, while the oldest was 109.