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COVID-19 Texas: El Paso posts grim ad for temporary morgue workers

The El Paso County Medical Examiner’s Office posted a help wanted ad calling for  temporary morgue workers to help with the surge of COVID-19 victims.

The job, which pays $27.20 per hour, requires attendants to be able to lift between 100 and 400 pounds with assistance.

Anyone willing to work the graveyard shift for a minimum of four hours will be paid an extra 70 cents per hour.

All applicants will be provided with personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves, but will also be tested for the virus before starting. 

‘Not only is this assignment physically taxing, but it may be emotionally taxing as well,’ the ad, which was posted on Thursday night, warned.  

It comes as county officials have resorted to using low-level offender inmates, who are being paid $2 an hour, to help move bodies. 

The El Paso County Medical Examiner's Office posted a help wanted ad asking for temporary morgue workers to be paid $27.20-per-hour and to lift between 100 and 400 pounds with assistance

The El Paso County Medical Examiner’s Office posted a help wanted ad asking for temporary morgue workers to be paid $27.20-per-hour and to lift between 100 and 400 pounds with assistance

The Medical Examiner's Office says there are 247 bodies at the morgue and inside nine refrigerated trailers being used as 'mobile morgues' (above)

The Medical Examiner’s Office says there are 247 bodies at the morgue and inside nine refrigerated trailers being used as ‘mobile morgues’ (above)

El Paso County has been relying on low-level offender inmates, who are being paid $2 an hour, to help move bodies. Pictured Inmates from El Paso County detention facility work while loading bodies wrapped in plastic into a refrigerated temporary morgue trailer, Wednesday

El Paso County has been relying on low-level offender inmates, who are being paid $2 an hour, to help move bodies. Pictured Inmates from El Paso County detention facility work while loading bodies wrapped in plastic into a refrigerated temporary morgue trailer, Wednesday

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said in a news release on Thursday that the Medical Examiner’s Office currently has 247 bodies at the morgue and inside nine refrigerated trailers being used as ‘mobile morgues.’

On Friday, the county reported 1,062 new coronavirus cases and 22 deaths. At least 86 deaths have been recorded since the beginning of the week. 

In total, 847 people have died in El Paso County, with fatalities expected to surpass 1,000 by the end of the year. 

According to public health data, at least 435 deaths are being investigated to determine if they were caused by COVID-19.

The county had been using minimum-security inmates, paid $2 an hour, to help move bodies at the morgue due to staffing shortages.

On Thursday, Samaniego said they would continue working until enough temporary morgue workers had been hired.  

‘Not everybody is going to be able to do that,’ he said.

‘We’ve had people there that have lasted an hour, 30 minutes, half a day. So, it’s a difficult process.’

Samaniego said he is also waiting for help from the Texas National Guard to aid in transporting bodies.

‘They asked for an assessment of our fatalities situation, and it’s been submitted,’ he said.  

‘It’s in their hands to determine whether or not they’re going to be able to come to El Paso for fatalities management.’

It comes one week after a state appeals court blocked Samaniego’s order for non-essential businesses to be shutdown.

Bodies are moved to refrigerated trailers, deployed during a surge of COVID-19 outside the County of El Paso Medical Examiners Office, November 16

Bodies are moved to refrigerated trailers, deployed during a surge of COVID-19 outside the County of El Paso Medical Examiners Office, November 16

Despite the rise in cases, residents of the border city were going about their daily business as usual with little panic when DailyMail.com visited

Despite the rise in cases, residents of the border city were going about their daily business as usual with little panic when DailyMail.com visited 

The local Costco and Walmart had plenty of toilet paper, meat, hand sanitizer and more while shelves in other cities are bare due to panic buying

The local Costco and Walmart had plenty of toilet paper, meat, hand sanitizer and more while shelves in other cities are bare due to panic buying

Restaurant owners and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued, arguing the order was not legal until Gov Greg Abbott’s executive order regarding what limits can be placed on businesses.

Paxton celebrated the decision in a tweet and called Samaniego ‘a tyrant.’

‘As the Court aptly put: “The public cannot have two sets of rules to live by,”‘ he wrote.

‘A tyrant who thinks he can ignore state law cannot stop that. I will not let rogue political subdivisions try to kill small businesses and holiday gatherings through unlawful executive orders.’  

Samaniego later hit back, accusing Paxton of not being sympathetic. 

‘So unfortunate that Paxton, the “Texas” Attorney General, finds the opportunity to gloat instead of coming to El Paso to walk along side me by the mobile morgues with 144 El Pasoans; or send his condolences to the families of his…constituents who died of COVID-19,’ he wrote.

Despite the rise in cases, residents of the border city were going about their daily business as usual with little panic when DailyMail.com visited.  

Miguel Jimenez, a local, said that he wasn’t too worried about catching coronavirus, adding: ‘If we get the Covid we get it; it’s God’s will.’ 

The local Costco and Walmart had plenty of toilet paper, meat, hand sanitizer and more while shelves in other cities are bare due to panic buying.

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