Wayne County health authorities have launched an investigation after discovering about 50 bodies Tuesday in a vacant building at Beaumont Hospital in Wayne, WDIV reports. The hospital recently closed in the midst of the pandemic.
"After being initially turned away by the hospital administrators today, county health inspectors were allowed access to the building and discovered a makeshift morgue in operation containing approximately 50 bodies," said Bill Nowling, a Wayne County spokesman, in a statement Tuesday.
"The Wayne County Health Division has launched an investigation to determine whether county health ordinances were violated by the hospital system.”
The hospital issued a statement saying it followed proper procedures for the makeshift morgue at its Annapolis Street complex.
The Wayne County Health Department received a tip about the bodies, reports Mara MacDonald of WDIV.
Beaumont officials initially turned away health inspectors who came to check on the tip, saying they needed a warrant.
After a series of phone calls, the station reports, the hospital backed off the demand for a warrant and health inspectors and Wayne County Sheriff's deputies entered the building.
Mark Geary, a Beaumont spokesman, issued a response:
In early April, as the COVID-19 crisis peaked, Beaumont obtained approvals from the City of Wayne’s Department of Community Development and Planning, Building Department and Fire Marshall to convert part of a warehouse into a temporary morgue. Once we obtained approval, we worked quickly to ensure that part of the warehouse space could serve this temporary purpose in a safe, appropriate and respectful way. Beaumont continues to use the rest of the warehouse to store much needed supplies we distribute to our hospitals across metro Detroit.
Today, without advanced notice, without being able to explain their purpose, and without appropriately fitting PPE to protect themselves from the coronavirus, various individuals demanded entry into the warehouse. These individuals were later shown photographs of the temporary morgue setup. The purpose of their visit remains unclear."