Michigan activates mortuary response team amid surge in COVID-19 deaths

Michigan's mortuary response team charged with helping local health care facilities and funeral homes has been activated following a surge in deaths due to COVID-19.

MI-MORT, a 40-volunteer team spread across the state is providing safe and secure transfer of human remains as funeral homes mitigate capacity within their facilities. The volunteers will also help with identification and storage.

“This is a challenging time for health care facilities and families across our state, particularly those experiencing loss. Michiganders who lose a loved one as a result of COVID-19 shouldn’t have to worry about whether they can make final arrangements,” said Timothy Schramm, funeral director for Howe-Peterson and commander of MI-MORT.

Composed of law enforcement, forensic scientists, chaplains, and funeral directors, the team is led by the state's health department and the Bureau of EMS, Trauma, and Preparedness. It's the first time MI-MORT has been activated since it was established 10 years ago.

Michigan has one of the highest death counts in the country, with more than 3,600 succumbing to the disease since it was first reported in early March.

RELATED: Michigan has mortuary response team ready to activate during COVID-19, if needed

Health care facilities and local officials can request assistance through medical examiners and their emergency managers.

The state's effort to slow COVID-19's outbreak started to note progress following an April 3 peak when almost 2,000 new cases were reported in a single day. Since then, the state's daily count has reported several more, smaller peaks. Up from its April low of 432 new cases on Monday, there 1,137 new cases on Wednesday.

Professionals interested in volunteering with MI-MORT may sign up through the Michigan Volunteer Registry at www.mivolunteerregistry.org.