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Beaver County Ice Rink Refrozen For Contingency Morgue But Officials Say That Would Be 'Worst-Case Scenario'

BRIGHTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) - An ice rink in Beaver County has been refrozen to be used as a contingency morgue if the coronavirus outbreak creates a "worst-case scenario."

A Beaver County commissioner tells KDKA Bradys Run Park Ice Arena was refrozen at the beginning of April as part of the county's mass fatality plan, which has been in place for two decades.

WATCH: KDKA's Pam Surano Reports Live From Beaver County

Before the rink is used, there are a few other options like the morgue at Heritage Valley and a refrigerated truck on-site that can hold 20 bodies.

Right now, the county commissioner tells KDKA the morgue hasn't been needed yet as the next of kin has claimed every body so far.

As of Thursday, the Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 14 coronavirus-related deaths in Beaver County and a total of 168 cases.

"It would take a lot to get there," officials said at a press conference about the contingency plan of using the rink as a morgue.

They stressed that the county has the outbreak under control, but say they are worried there's a discrepancy with case numbers being reported, and that makes planning difficult.

They say the reported numbers are different from two state agencies and nursing homes here in Beaver County.

Commissioner Daniel Camp says PEMA is reporting 104 cases at The Brighton Rehab and Wellness Center while the Pennsylvania Department of Health says there are 70 total at two nursing homes in the county.

"Our calls that we are getting from our citizens and from across western Pennsylvania are 'why are our numbers so high?'" said Commissioner Camp. "They could be higher, they could be lower for all we know, but right now, it's because of one facility in Beaver County that is raising our numbers. And I believe that is the death toll, not just positive cases."

Beaver County does not have its own health department, so they are relying on the state. With the difference in numbers, they are asking Brighton to help them help the community by opening those lines of communication.

Brighton Rehab is operating under the assumption that all of the almost 800 people living or working at the facility have the virus.

In a statement released last week, the nursing home said: "We join with an increasing number of healthcare professionals who are urging all Americans to presume you are positive and to take action to prevent the virus you may carry from spreading to others."

"We also ask you to presume that your seemingly healthy neighbors are positive as well. We are asking the same from each and every member of our staff and asking them to act as if each of them and each resident may be positive so that we slow the spread."


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