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4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

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New York shortens deadline for claiming dead, photos show mass burials on Hart Island

New York shortens deadline for claiming dead, photos show mass burials on Hart Island
Posted at 7:31 AM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 07:31:07-04

As New York City deals with a mounting coronavirus death toll, the city has shortened the amount of time it will hold unclaimed remains.

The medical examiner's office says it will now keep bodies in storage for just 14 days before they're buried in the city's potter's field on Hart Island. Typically, bodies can be kept in morgues for two months before they're buried at Hart Island.

The office says it's changing policy to free up space at the city's morgues.

Normally, about 25 bodies a week are interred on the island, mostly for people who go unclaimed by relatives or whose families can't afford a funeral. Now, city officials there say that they are burying around 24 bodies a day.

More than a million people are interred on the island.

As of Friday morning, at least 5,150 in New York City had died of the coronavirus. Across the state, more than 161,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed — more than any other country in the world.