City denies claim that it approved temporary morgue for COVID-19 deaths at Beaumont Wayne Hospital

Hospital allegedly asked to re-purpose old building

WAYNE, Mich. – The city of Wayne released a statement Wednesday that refutes claims that it approved a temporary morgue at Beaumont Hospital in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Health Department inspectors, along with Wayne County sheriff’s deputies, found the temporary morgue with about 50 bodies in it while visiting the hospital Tuesday.

READ: Investigation into makeshift morgue at Beaumont Wayne reveals 50 bodies in vacant building

A statement from the health system stated, “In early April, as the COVID-19 crisis peaked, Beaumont obtained approvals from the City of Wayne’s Department of Community Development and Planning, Building Department and Fire Marshall to convert part of a warehouse into a temporary morgue.”

However, the city said this is not accurate.

According to city officials, the hospital reached out to the city Fire Marshal in March about reopening the laundry facility and was given permission to do so. The Fire Marshal allegedly was never contacted again about using the building.

In April, the hospital contacted Wayne’s Community Development director and said the building may need to be re-purposed during the pandemic. The city says it referred the hospital to the Building and Engineering director, who would address permitting requirements.

The city’s statement said no approval was given.

Then, in mid-April, the hospital contacted the city’s Building and Engineering Director regarding the placement of a temporary morgue in the former laundry building.

According to the city’s statement, “It was communicated to the Director that the re-purposing would be a temporary renovation and was to be completely removed as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic concludes. Beaumont is currently in the process of giving the Building and Engineering Department the materials it needs (photographs, etc.) to determine permit requirements. The city is working with Beaumont, as it does all its businesses, to ensure any facility is safe for use.”

Last week, Beaumont Wayne announced that the hospital had no patients. Officials said the remaining coronavirus (COVID-19) patients were either discharged or transferred to other hospitals last Tuesday.

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It all started with a call to the Wayne County Health Department claiming bodies were being inappropriately stored at the now-shuttered Beaumont Wayne Hospital.