Surge of human remains has state activating Michigan Mortuary Response Team for first time


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A statewide effort has been activated to securely transfer the surge of human remains during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About 40 volunteers in the Michigan Mortuary Response Team are helping health care facilities and funeral homes across the state.

The volunteers include medical examiners, law enforcement, forensic scientists, chaplains, and funeral directors.

The team transfers, identifies and stores human remains in a central collection center until funeral homes can help families make plans.

“Michiganders who lose a loved one as a result of COVID-19 shouldn’t have to worry about whether they can make final arrangements,” said Timothy Schramm, funeral director for Howe-Peterson and commander of MI-MORT. “Our volunteers are dedicated to providing comfort and reassurance that a person’s remains are safe and properly, professionally handled as quickly as possible at every step.”

The Michigan Mortuary Response Team was established 10 years ago as part of emergency and disaster planning, but this is the first time the team has been activated.

Professionals interested in volunteering may sign up through the Michigan Volunteer Registry at

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