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Refrigerated unit brought to Lakeland Regional due to surge in COVID-19 deaths

Lakeland Regional Medical Center says the recent rise in COVID cases has caused more deaths than normal.
Credit: Olena Bloshchynska - stock.adobe.com

LAKELAND, Fla. — In recent months, hospitals have beared the brunt of the current surge in COVID-19 cases with hospitalizations at points reaching pandemic highs. Now, one Tampa Bay area facility says it is dealing with a rise in deaths related to the virus.

Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center says the recent rise in cases has caused more deaths than normal. For that reason, the hospital says it is adding a portable refrigerated unit to help "gain additional capacity."

"Each surge during the pandemic has caused more deaths than normal at our Medical Center, and we take the appropriate steps to properly handle the bodies of the patients who pass away," the hospital said in a statement.

Lakeland Regional isn't the only hospital that's had to deal with a surge in COVID-19 deaths. Last week, several AdventHealth hospitals in central Florida reportedly reached capacity at their morgues. However, Lakeland Regional says it is not at capacity. 

According to data Florida has reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state's 7-day moving average for COVID-related deaths during this recent wave peaked at 220 deaths. As of Aug. 31, the 7-day moving average for deaths is at 21.