Local storage company seeing demand for refrigerated containers due to COVID-19 deaths

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Posted at 6:21 PM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 00:21:21-05

Morgues and funeral homes across our state are running out of space due to the spike in COVID-19 deaths.

Mid-State Containers located in Santa Maria was hit with the hard task of shipping refrigerated containers across California, something they say they've never had to do until now.

"It's like something out of, you know, a horror film almost,” said Jake Knotts, Mid-State Containers Managing Director.

Workers in Santa Maria are prepping the 40-foot cold storage containers for shipment due to an increase in COVID-19 related deaths across the state.

"These hospitals and mortuaries are kind of in a crisis mode and asking for containers as soon as we can get them to them,” Knotts said.

He said he's sent dozens of containers to places like Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties.

In Santa Barbara County, two containers were set up at the beginning of the pandemic as a precaution.

"So thankfully we haven't had to use our surge capacity. We have been able to manage with the existing storage that we have in both our south and northern county storage facilities,” said Lt. Erik Raney, Santa Barbara County Coroner's Office Manager.

Lt. Raney said although they haven't had to use the containers, there is a backlog.

"It is due to the surge in the death toll but it is also more of a workflow issue. The place that we have identified the backlog right now is through the cremation process and the lack of supplies that are needed to process cremations at the mortuary level,” he said.

Knotts said it has been an eye-opening experience for him and his workers.

"It's very sad what's happening and I hope that people realize that, you know, coronavirus is a real problem that everyone is facing that we need to get through together,” Knotts said.