Portable Morgues and Thermometer Alarms: The OHSEP Response to Delta

By Jim Wilkerson

On Tuesday, August 10, the Lincoln Parish Police Jury convened to discuss, in part, some of the preventative measures the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (OHSEP) is taking to mitigate the impact of the Delta variant.

Director Kip Franklin informed the Police Jury that this time last year, the morgue at the Northern Louisiana Medical Center was frequently overcapacity. It had even been reported to Franklin that the few trays in the morgue sometimes had to be shared by multiple corpses at once.

Because of this, the OHSEP began looking for a portable morgue that could provide an additional, albeit temporary, space for bodies that could not fit into the hospital’s overcrowded morgue. However, there were no companies last year that the OHSEP could find to purchase a portable morgue from.

With the reemergence of heightened safety protocols and government mandates in the face of the Delta variant, the OHSEP successfully renewed its declaration for grant money that is provided for personal protective equipment (PPE) and other items to help Lincoln Parish cope with Delta.

With this money, the OHSEP found a company that produced portable morgues and immediately bought one for $8,200. Franklin said that the morgue had already arrived and that his crew had unpacked it and put it together.

In addition, the OHSEP purchased special thermometers that will be installed in government buildings across Lincoln Parish. The thermometers are unique in that they will sound an alarm if someone’s temperature is above 99.1 degrees Fahrenheit.

When T.J. Cranford asked if the setting for the thermometers could be changed, since some jury members found 99.1 degrees to be too low a number, Franklin informed Cranford that it could not.

To end his briefing, Franklin asserted to the Police Jury that the best way to beat the Delta variant was to encourage all citizens to get the vaccine.

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