Coronavirus: Hospital accused of delivering bodies to Pennsylvania medical examiner by pickup truck

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A Pennsylvania hospital allegedly used the open bed of a pickup truck to transport bodies in broad daylight Sunday afternoon amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report on Monday.

Upon arrival at the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office, the driver of the Ford F-150 XLT was captured unloading the bodies to be taken inside one of the facility's three refrigerated trailers.

The Medical Examiner’s Office said the five or six bodies came from a local hospital and had arrived in “an unapproved manner," according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Two of the bags were reportedly labeled “Albert Einstein Medical” and “Einstein Med Center" -- which is a hospital located in Philadelphia.

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Einstein Medical Center -- like other hospitals in the area -- contracts a funeral home to transport human remains to the examiner.

Einstein Healthcare Network, which operates the flagship hospital, issued a statement on Monday declaring an immediate update on protocols used by their contractor, the paper reported.

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“We deeply apologize," the statement said, "[We] are making every effort to ensure we continue to provide the respectful, compassionate care that we are known for.”

People wait in line to receive food during the coronavirus outbreak as part of a new initiative called Step Up to the Plate in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia on April 17.  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

People wait in line to receive food during the coronavirus outbreak as part of a new initiative called Step Up to the Plate in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia on April 17.  (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

“This was an expected transfer, meaning staff at the Medical Examiner’s Office knew to prepare to receive a transfer,” the medical examiner's office said, according to the Inquirer. “Upon receipt, MEO staff ensured the bodies were safe and not damaged from the transit and transferred them into storage."

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Philadelphia has 9,553 confirmed COVID-19 cases and at least 370 deaths as of early Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins. More than 34,000 infections from the virus have occurred throughout Pennsylvania.