x
Breaking News
More () »

Texas funeral home says 220 people, most of whom died of COVID-19, are waiting for cremation or burial

The El Paso funeral home has one room full of bodies.

EL PASO, Texas — More than 10 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19 since the pandemic began.  

That includes more than one million new cases since the end of October. That's the worst stretch of infections so far in this country, according to CBS News. Nearly half of the cases, 46 percent, came from the Midwest. 

Hospitalizations from coronavirus are close to record-highs across the US. And, with cases on the rise in 46 states, experts warn the worst is yet to come. 

On Sunday, Utah's governor introduced a statewide mask mandate for the first time, pointing to "overcrowding" in the state's hospitals. 

“They are really at the brink of not being able to take any more people in the overflow mode, particularly in our intensive care units,” Gov. Gary Herbert said in a news conference.

In El Paso, one in every five coronavirus tests is coming back positive, and ICUs are at surge capacity. 

At Perches Funeral Home, one room is filled with bodies. The home tells CBS News it has 220 people awaiting burial or cremation; and most of them died from COVID-19.

“A lot of families have had a loved one pass away from COVID, they're all worried they may be next,” Nena Macias of Perches Funeral Home said.

Back in July, El Paso County dealt with morgues reaching capacity, and morgue trailers were requested from FEMA.

The U.S. is now averaging over 950 deaths per day. And, the virus continues to claim the lives of people like Austin Tanner. The 18-year-old from Melvindale, Michigan died on Oct. 27. CBS News spoke with his mother, Karie Tanner.

“Horrible and I feel empty, lost and alone without him,” Karie Tanner said.

Karie says she doesn't know where or how her son caught the virus. She says he only left the house for church and a support group for his anxiety. Austin was diagnosed with autism, and Karie says he was terrified of catching the virus.

Karie Tanner says Austin was loved by so many in the community. He was even selected to be homecoming king at his high school. Because Austin's family was still under quarantine after he died, Karie says the school community came to their house and held a vigil on their lawn.

RELATED: As Texas morgues fill up, refrigerator trucks are on the way in several counties

RELATED: US surpasses 10 million confirmed cases of coronavirus

What other people are reading right now:

►Breaking news and weather alerts: Get the free 10 Tampa Bay app

Stay In the Know! Sign up now for the Brightside Blend Newsletter