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Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.

Winnebago County Board Approves Refrigerated Trucks For COVID-19 Overflow

Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco
Winnebago County Courthouse

Due to the rise in COVID-19 related deaths in Rockford, local officials are turning to alternative cold storage options for the recently deceased.

Earlier this week, WREX reported that the Winnebago County Board was considering leasing a refrigerated truck to accommodate potential overflow of COVID-19 related remains.

Angela Fellars is a representative-elect for the Winnebago County Board and she said the new cold storage truck is already in Rockford and ready for use.

“It is true. And so we actually have authorized the purchase of one. They’re similar to diesel trucks. That has an increased capacity for storing the remains of people who have passed away.”

According to Fellars, in Winnebago County there have been 282 COVID related deaths, and 111 of those deaths occurred just this past month. Fellars said that hopefully the new cold storage will relieve the recent strain on local health care providers.

Fellars said that it is her understanding that the cost of the truck will be reimbursed through federal and state grants made available under current relief acts.

  • Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project which is a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms.